It's no secret that a woman's appearance is capable of igniting fervent debate. But in one high school in California, the policing of how male and female students present themselves has sparked a remarkable protest. Buchanan High School students in Clovis, CA., are protesting the dress code by defying gender norms in the best way — by donning outfits traditionally worn by the opposite gender.
It appears that the Clovis Unified School District (CUSD) dress code was first publicly challenged when student William Pleasant wrote a letter to the Fresno Bee editor challenging the punishment meted out to him (detention and on-campus suspension, and being denied registration for his senior year) for growing his hair out. The letter unleashed a chain of events that led to male students wearing skirts and dresses, and female students wearing collared shirts and jeans in protest.
"We live in a city where the LGBTQA+ community is very minimal and unaccepted," Sophia Brodish, a Buchanan High sophomore, told the Fresno Bee. "By allowing the dress code to become gender neutral, we are starting to bridge the gap of acceptance and unacceptance... How could a district that is trying to give kids an education not allow us to be who we are? How could they not see that we are fighting for something we believe in?"
Photos of the students were widely circulated on the Internet and celebrated by the students. And it seems many more are on board with challenging CUSD's dress code — a student petition for a gender-neutral dress code has garnered more than 3,000 signatures so far.