Tina K. Russell

October 5, 2008

Re: Dress of Grievances

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Tina Russell @ 5:53 pm

(Alternate titles: “Skirting the Issue,” “K.K. Lament,” “Backless vs. Tactless,” and “The Prom Before the Storm”)

GayCityNews – Prom Dress a Federal Case
In a September 25 ruling, a federal judge in Gary, Indiana, gave a green light to a lawsuit by a transsexual high school student suing over his principal’s refusal to allow him to attend the prom in a dress.

According to the complaint, [student Kevin “K.K.”] Logan identifies as a gay transsexual youth who prefers to wear feminine attire, and did so throughout his senior year at West Side High School in Gary. It is an interesting sign of the times that Logan claims he encountered no substantial problems at school due to his attire, finding both teachers and fellow students generally supportive. Even the assistant principal stated no objections when Logan inquired about wearing a dress to the prom.

But principal Diana Rouse stated her objection, directing that Logan wear a pants suit rather than a prom dress.

Despite this, Logan arrived at the prom wearing a dress similar to those worn by the girls in attendance, and was denied entry at Rouse’s direction. Several students aware of what was going on left the prom and spent part of the evening in the parking lot with Logan to show their solidarity, before he returned home without having been allowed to enter.

After the prom, Logan demanded to know what school policy restricted his dressing for the event, and was shown “School Board Policy #319,” which deems “inappropriate” clothing that signals “sexual orientation.”

Logan raised a variety of claims in his suit, asserting violation of his First Amendment free speech rights, his Fourteenth Amendment equal protection rights, and his right to be free of sex discrimination by an educational institution under Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments Act.

I cannot imagine any substantial reason why, after women fought so hard for the right to wear pants, men should be restricted from wearing dresses. I also cannot imagine how a policy that certain clothes are fine for women but banned for men (under the notion that they “signal” sexual orientation) is anything but discrimination based on sex. (More than that, it’s discrimination based on sex disguised as discrimination against sexual orientation, as though the latter is somehow fine. Weird…) And, I can’t imagine why any of this is sufficient reason to keep a student from attending his own senior prom. It’s cruel, and I’m only glad that his fellow students were supportive enough to hang out with him during the event. It’s a shame when students must fill a void in the absence of responsible adults, but always heartening when they do it well.

(I should note that I’m only following GayCityNews’s use of male pronouns, hoping that they bothered to check what K.K. prefers.)

From now on, I hope it’s clear: your school’s dress code must be gender-neutral. If you want to ban dresses, fine, but it’ll have to be for everyone. Otherwise, you’re discriminating based on sex. It’s that simple.



  1. Wow. That’s wrong on so many levels. How did the world ever get to be so uptight anyway?

    I mean go back a generation and the principal would have just laughed and said “come on in”.

    It’s like when that guy streaked through the lunchroom and got repeatedly tasered while kids hid under tables. When did streaking stop being funny? When did men in dresses become something to get so uptight about?

    Kids are kids. They have enough problems figuring out who they are without us dictating rules about what gender and sexuality is and isn’t acceptable. Just embrace them, give them a hug, and tell them we love them no matter who they are.

    Especially in a world where so many people have fought for equal rights in other forms.

    Comment by hinkycorners — October 6, 2008 @ 12:06 pm

  2. I keep reading how certain people in the USA think that every word in the bible is true*. And it appears that many wish to go back thousands of years to living in those times, by banning any form of free expression or anything that is not actually mentioned in the bible!!

    Still amazes me that they can use computers or drive automobiles!

    *(The bible has been compiled from many different translations over the centuries, each done to fit in with the political viewpoint at the time of those paying for the translation. The actually books of the bible are not the full list of books that could/should have been included_

    Comment by Davinia Louise Hilton — October 7, 2008 @ 1:47 pm

  3. Wow, that had absolutely nothing to do with my post. And, it’s safe to say that what “should” have been included is subjective; the matter merits skepticism, not dismissal.

    Comment by Tina Russell — October 7, 2008 @ 2:37 pm

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