Hundreds of boys and teachers wore skirts to school last November to show their support for a boy who was expelled for wearing a skirt.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on June 2, 2021. It has since been updated.
Teachers of a Spanish school wore skirts to class after a boy was expelled for wearing a skirt to class. The teachers wore skirts to show their solidarity with the student and to establish the idea that clothes have no gender (#laropanotienegenero). The idea has turned into a movement with the aim of ending stereotypical gender norms. More and more teachers, who are men, are joining in the protest by wearing skirts to school. The movement started when 15-year-old Mikel Gómez, was expelled from his school in Bilbao before being referred to a psychologist for wearing a skirt, implying that he had mental issues.
Un cole que educa en el respeto, la diversidad, la coeducaión y la tolerancia. ¡Vístete como quieras! Nos sumamos a la inicitiva #LaRopaNoTieneGénero @CEIPVdeSacedon @educacyl @cfievalladolid @FTriangulo @fecylgtb pic.twitter.com/GgnoejXe2N— Borja Velázquez (@borjamusico) April 29, 2021
El Pais, a Spanish newspaper reported that he had worn a skirt to show his solidarity with feminists and trans people. Gómez then uploaded a video of him calling out the school and it spurred hundreds of boys to wear skirts in protest. By November, it had snowballed into a full-fledged movement with boy students and teachers all over the country wearing clothes stereotypically deemed feminine. This movement sparked a lot of debate in the country.
The movement has now resurfaced again in May 2021, after a 36-year-old teacher, Borja Velázquez, started coming to class dressed in skirts. They were protesting an incident of bullying against a boy, who was shamed for wearing an anime sweatshirt. He had taken off his shirt after being bullied and subjected to homophobic slurs. Borja Velázquez works at the Virgen de Sacedon primary school in Valladolid, where the incident also took place. It wasn't just Borja Velázquez who wore skirts to school but also a co-worker Manuel Ortega. The pair said they wanted to promote tolerance, respect, and diversity. Velázquez tweeted: A school that educates with respect, diversity, co-education, and tolerance. Dress how you want! We join the campaign #clotheshavenogender.
Hace 20años sufrí persecución e insultos xmi orientación sexual en el instituto en el q ahora soy profesor, muchs profes, miraron para otro lado. Quiero unirme a la causa del alumno, Mikel, q ha sido expulsado y enviado al psicólogo por ir a clase con falda. #LaRopaNoTieneGenero pic.twitter.com/5PEN9vityY— Jose Piñas (@joxepinas) November 9, 2020
The teachers say they want to break prejudices and help promote tolerance. They also make it a point to help students unlearn gender stereotypes, including telling their students that it's all right for boys to be in the kitchen or to have long hair, while it’s also ok for girls to love football and have short hair.
Teacher Jose Piñas was one of the first teachers to show his solidarity with Mikel Gómez, who was expelled for wearing a skirt. Piñas posted an image of himself wearing a skirt and wrote: "20 years ago I suffered persecution and insults for my sexual orientation in high school where I am now a teacher, many teachers, they looked the other way. I want to join the cause of the student, Mikel, who has been expelled and sent to the psychologist for going to class with a skirt."
Estos son mis amigos. Hoy fueron al insti con estas faldas y al llegar les llamo el instituto porque ‘les pareció una falta de respeto y de educación ‘ Los putos profesores no tnen porque criticar lo q lleven y llevemos puesto. Difundir #LaRopaNoTieneGenero osquierotios💖💖 pic.twitter.com/YlBczn2zOW— marinaa🖤 (@haaysssss) November 4, 2020
Fernando Ruiz, father of a nine-year-old son was stunned after his son was called a "fag or girl" for just painting his nails. Ruiz spoke up about it and witnessed thousands of people shower support on the boy, giving him the confidence to paint his nails again. Ruiz called on parents to do more at home. "Children cannot insult each other like that, they are things that come from home and we have to set an example," he said.