LGBTQ+

Trans girl misses graduation when court denies her right to wear dress

A Mississippi judge ruled the school could force the student to wear boys' clothing at graduation since she was biologically male.

The tops of students are shown wearing their caps and gowns at graduation
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A transgender female student missed her graduation at Harrison Central High in Mississippi on Saturday after a judge ruled that the school could force her to wear boy's attire under her cap and gown. 

L.B., the student, had already purchased a white dress and heels per the school's graduation dress code for girls. But the school argued she had to dress according to the clothing policy for boys, since she was biologically male. 

"It was detrimental to know that I won't be able to experience my graduation the way I had envisioned it and planned it for so many years," L.B. said in an interview with CNN. "I've been going to the school, actively being with me, with my teachers, my peers, the other students in my class — to show up and be forced to wear something that's been totally different from myself, my character." 

Judge says school can force trans girl to dress like boy at graduation
Judge says school can force trans girl to dress like boy at graduation

Judge says school can force trans girl to dress like boy at graduation

In her four years at Harrison Central High, the student has identified as female and worn dresses and women’s clothing at school.

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The ruling from Judge Taylor McNeel siding with the school came down late Friday, before the school's commencement ceremony the next day. A hearing was prompted by a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union, who called out the school for discrimination. 

"Trans kids deserve the same safety, freedom, and celebration as their friends and peers," said the ACLU in a tweet Monday. 

While the school dress code policy for graduation details specific attire for boys and girls, it does not contain any mention of LGBTQ students, nor does it specify that the students must dress according to their sex assigned at birth. 

L.B. has been transgender in her four years at Harrison Central High and has always worn women's clothing to school. 

"While L.B. has shown remarkable strength in the face of blatant harassment and discrimination by school leaders, she shouldn't have been forced to do so," the ACLU tweeted after L.B. missed the ceremony.