Trans pride flags flutter in the wind at a gathering to celebrate the International Transgender Day of Visibility, March 31, 2017.
AFP via Getty Images
A transgender girl was denied participation in her high school graduation ceremony unless she dressed like a boy with a federal judge choosing to not block the school officials’ decision.
U.S. District Judge Taylor McNeel, appointed by former president Donald Trump, said that he would not stop the Harrison County School District from barring the 17-year-old girl from her graduation.
Linda Morris, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) Women’s Rights Project, said in an email: ‘Our client is being shamed and humiliated for an explicitly discriminatory reason, and her family is being denied a once-in-a-lifetime milestone in their daughter’s life.’ Adding that the ruling ‘is as disappointing as it is absurd.’
The ACLU sued the district on behalf of the student and her family, after the student - listed by her initials LB - was told she must follow the boys’ clothing rules. The school district’s dress code expects boys to wear a white button-down shirt, and black trousers, black shoes and a tie or bowtie. Girls are required to wear white dresses.
The lawsuit states that LB had worn dresses to class and other school events, including prom, throughout high school, and that she should not face discrimination during graduation.
Mitchell King, the school district superintendent, told LB’s mother that she could not participate in the graduation ceremony unless she wore ‘pants, socks, and shoes, like a boy,’ according to the lawsuit.
Harrison County School Board attorney Wynn Clark wrote in court papers on Friday that taking part in a graduation ceremony is voluntary not a constitutionally protected right for any student.
Mississippi is among many US states that have introduced bills to limit the rights and freedoms of LGBTQ+ citizens. In 2021, Mississippi became the first U.S. state to ban transgender athletes from competing in women’s and girl’s sports.
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