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Transgender Boy Can Play a Male Role in Texas High School's Oklahoma! After All

Transgender Boy Can Play a Male Role in Texas High School's Oklahoma! After All

Max Hightower Reinstated Oklahoma Musical
Image: YouTube @KXIITV

The school board’s decision to allow Max Hightower to resume his role in the musical follows intense community backlash and national debate over transgender rights in schools.

Cwnewser

After a pivotal board meeting on Monday night, Sherman High School in Texas decided to proceed with its production of Oklahoma! as initially planned before the controversial decision to remove transgender student Max Hightower from his role and to adopt a more watered-down version.

Trustees at the Sherman Independent School District voted for the superintendent to reverse course over the decision to revoke students' parts based on their gender. They also voted to go with the original script, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Superintendent Tyson Bennett told the paper that he would follow the board's decision.

This update ensures Hightower will retain his solo part in the play, though the new dates for the show’s staging are still unclear.

Hightower’s passion for theater ignited at age 13 after watching the musical Hamilton, leading him to immerse himself in the soundtrack each morning. The aspiring young actor was cast in a supporting role with a solo in Oklahoma!.

Related: Texas High School Says Transgender Boy Can’t Play Male Lead in ‘Oklahoma!’

However, the school’s fluctuating policies regarding performers’ gender and content concerns about the play thrust Hightower into the center of a real-life drama.

A few days after receiving his part, Hightower was told he couldn’t play the role. He said his principal told him that for this production, “actors and actresses could only play a role that was the same gender they were assigned at birth," local TV station KXII reports.

Hightower, who was elated when he was cast, said he was “devastated” when the role was taken away from him, according to the outlet. He has played female characters in previous shows, but the staffers who run the theater productions had no problem with appearing as male, he and his father said.

“All kinds of actors have played all kinds of parts,” Hightower said. “I mean, I grew up watching Mrs. Doubtfire.

He was determined to be reinstated, he said. “I want every kid to be recognized and noticed and allowed to be themselves,” he told the station.

Following Monday's decision, board president Brad Morgan said he was sorry for the incident.

We understand that our decision does not erase the impact this had on our community,” Morgan said, Dallas Morning News reports.

Hightower's father, Phillip Hightower, told the paper he was glad about the outcome.

“There still needs to be accountability,” he said.

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Christopher Wiggins

Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).
Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).