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Gay teen suspended for wearing nail polish wins fight against school's sexist dress code

The new gender-neutral student dress code does not make the distinction between "boys" and "girls" and instead uses the term "students."

Gay teen suspended for wearing nail polish wins fight against school's sexist dress code
Cover Image Source: Instagram/Trevor Wilkinson

Trevor Wilkinson, the Texas teenager who was suspended for wearing nail polish to his high school, has won big. As we previously reported, Wilkinson—a gay student at Clyde High School—was suspended by his school after he returned from Thanksgiving break with his nails painted. The teen was informed that he had violated the school's dress code which bans male students from wearing nail polish and make-up. Determined not to give up without a fight, the teen started a Change.org petition to change the school policy. His story gained national attention following his powerful speech on inclusivity at a local school board meeting where Wilkinson spoke about how he is being denied an education due to outdated gender stereotypes.



 

 

"This isn't about me anymore," the 17-year-old said at the meeting. "It's about a discriminatory, sexist policy that needs to be changed." Wilkinson's efforts have now paid off as, according to local ABC affiliate KTXS, Clyde CISD school board voted Monday to update the wording in its student handbook. The new policy does not make the distinction between "boys" and "girls" and instead uses the term "students." The gender-neutral student dress code also does not prevent students from wearing makeup, nail polish, jewelry, or piercings based on their gender,



 

 

"It is with great honor that I am pleased to announce that Clyde High School's dress code is officially gender-neutral forever," said Wilkinson. "I'm at a loss of words for the joy I am feeling on this special day. I am so blessed by the support, love, and help I have received through this experience."  According to KRBC-TV, the new "Dress and Grooming Policy" was unanimously approved by the Clyde CISD board members on April 19, 2021, following months of discussion. "I am very proud of my school for this, I'm glad that we finally got to this point and I think that it's inclusive for everyone," said Wilkinson.



 

 

"I got my education taken away from me for something as minor as painting my nails because it's against the dress code," the teen told the Clyde CISD school board back in December. "Why is it against dress code for a man to be comfortable with his masculinity and defy the gender norms society has imposed on us?" Wilkinson asked. "Why is it harmful for me to wear nail polish? If it’s not harmful for girls to wear it, why is it harmful for males?"



 

 

"Having a double standard like this only shows that Clyde doesn’t accept kids for who they are and they shouldn’t be themselves because the very people that are supposed to create a safe environment can’t accept them," he said. "It's not too late to be on the right side of history and I dare ask you guys to join. I understand that you guys have traditional values and I respect that, but to get respect you also have to give it. America is progressing, we’re staying up-to-date with trends, we’re modernizing as a whole and nothing will stop that."



 

"Traditional values are great, but change is inevitable. At what point do we look at the bigger picture and realize that this isn't 50 years ago? We're all supposed to be equal, not having our freedom of expression suppressed, not having our voices not heard because grown-ups are taking three steps back instead of forward," the teen added. "Diversity is what makes this country so beautiful." Over 400,000 people signed Wilkinson's petition. "I am a gay male and I'm beyond proud. This is unjust and not okay. Help me show that it is okay to express yourself and that the identity that society wants to normalize is not okay," the teen wrote in the petition. "I am a human. I am valid. I should not get in trouble for having my nails done."

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