“You should not be expelled, kicked out of class, held after school, treated differently or punished in any way because of your gender expression.
You have the right to wear clothes that align with your gender identity. When it comes to your gender identity, the U.S. Constitution (under the Fourteenth Amendment) and Title IX of the 1964 Civil Rights Act provides you with protections. In fact, there is a case that says that a public school’s failure to protect students from harassment and discrimination based on “crossgender” dress is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.
There are also some state laws and local ordinances that require schools to protect students if they are being discriminated against or harassed simply because they dress differently from traditional ideas of “gender-appropriate” clothes. Many other cities and counties have laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. Depending on how the law is drafted, it may apply to both public and private schools.
Is my school’s dress code discriminatory?
• Are the dress code policies enforced in a fair and consistent manner?
• Are all students held to the same dress-code standards?
If the answer is “no” to any of the questions above, then your school’s dress code may be discriminatory.
• Is one student allowed to wear a tuxedo to prom but another student is not?
• Is one student allowed to wear a shorter skirt than another student? If the answer is “yes to any of the questions above, then your school’s dress code may be discriminatory.
What Can I Do About Discrimination?
A good rule is to write down everything.
• Who was involved?
• What happened?
• Where did it happen?
• When did it happen?
• Did you tell anyone?
• Were there any witnesses?
Save your notes and share it with an adult ally. This might be your parent or caregiver, a teacher, school counselor, or principal. If you need additional support, you can contact Gender Spectrum.