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Tom-Boys Allowed; Jane-Girls Not Allowed

Lambda Legal released a press release of a new lawsuit, filed in the Northern District Court of Indiana regarding West Side High School (Gary, Indiana) violated Kevin “K.K.” Logan’s First Amendment rights when it barred him from his prom for wearing a dress.

From the press release:

K.K. Logan attended West Side High during his junior and senior year and expressed a deeply rooted femininity in his appearance and demeanor. Both classmates and teachers at the school supported him in his daily attendance dressed in clothes typically associated with girls his age.

However, on May 19, 2006, Principal Diane Rouse stretched her arms across the door of the Senior Prom, blocking Logan’s entrance. His classmates and friends rallied to his defense to no avail — even though a female student was allowed entrance dressed in a tuxedo.

The message here is that being a male-bodied person in a dress — a Jane-Girl — is as bad as using drugs.  That’s right — according to school policy, one can’t wear clothing that “advertises” drugs or sexual orientation.  And let’s be clear, that means a female-bodied person wearing a tux isn’t advertising sexual orientation, but a male-bodied person wearing a prom dress is advertising sexual orientation.  The policy is excerpted in the press release:

Principal Rouse has stood by a school policy that deems inappropriate any “clothing/ accessories that advertise sexual orientation, sex, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, profanity, negative social or negative educational statements.”

Lambda Legal’s public response (besides filing the lawsuit):

“The fact that sexual orientation is lumped in with drugs and profanity in the school’s dress code is just plain offensive, but even more troublesome is that the whole policy is in violation of students’ First Amendment rights,” said James P. Madigan, Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Midwest Regional Office in Chicago. “There are ways to write policies that both create rules for student behavior and also respect their rights — but this isn’t one of them.”

Lambda Legal argues that Logan’s First Amendment rights were violated, including the freedoms of speech, symbolic action, and expressive conduct. The school district also engaged in unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex and gender.

K.K. Logan ended the press release with a significant statement:

I dress this way because it’s who I am and how I feel on the inside. Gay and trans students have rights, and they should be treated fairly.


[History of story links/Further Reading links added after the break]~~~~~

Further Reading:

* Transgriot: Transgender Teen Shut Out of Prom and KK Logan Strikes Back

* Chicago Sun-Times: No prom; lots of support for man who wore gown

* CBS2 Chicago: Student Banned From Prom To Graduate

* Gary Post-Tribune:Reaction strong to gay Gary student barred from prom

* The Advocate: Gay boy in a dress barred from school prom

* Transgender student’s dress banned at prom

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