A school district in Mississippi has implemented a dress code that discriminates against transgender students.
Last month, the Harrison County School Board adopted a dress code that requires students to wear clothes matching the gender assigned to them at birth, according to the Sun Herald.
There are multiple changes in the dress code in the 2023-24 student handbook, including three new items related to gender. It states that boys must wear shorts and girls must wear dresses, skirts, shorts, or pants. The third section says attire must follow a student’s birth certificate or permanent file.
The elementary student handbook also uses the same language.
Earlier this year, the district made headlines for denying a transgender student the right to wear a dress to her graduation ceremony, prompting the American Civil Liberties Union to file suit. She wore dresses, skirts, and other traditionally feminine clothing throughout her high school career without issue, according to the complaint. Due to the judge’s decision not to intervene, the student missed graduation.
The district’s move in Mississippi follows several recent attempts to restrict transgender rights. A law passed in 2021 prohibits trans women and girls from joining teams that align with their gender identity. Another passed this year prohibits trans minors from receiving gender-affirming health care.
Healthcare providers at the University of Mississippi Medical Center dissolved their LGBTQ-inclusive clinic in June. Trans juveniles receiving gender-affirming care at the facility caught lawmakers’ attention.
“Every kid should feel safe and welcome at school,” Human Rights Campaign director for Mississippi Rob Hill told the Sun Herald. “Transgender kids deserve the opportunity to grow up knowing that they are valued and respected for who they are. This harmful policy will only further alienate and endanger kids across Harrison County who are already struggling with so many challenges today. The school district should reconsider its decision and repeal this damaging and discriminatory approach.”