In an act of protest, Staceyy Holidayy, a 15-year-old transgender girl, wore a partially open-back top to school last week, resulting in a two-day suspension for violating the dress code standards for female students at El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera, Calif.
Holidayy admits to purposely wearing the top in an effort to force the school to address mixed messages she claims she's receiving from teachers and administrators, arguing that since the school fails to treat her like other girls in some respects, it's hypocritical of them to hold her to the female dress code.
"I don't know how they can suspend me because I broke rules for girls, when I can't use the girls' restroom or locker room," Holidayy told the Whittier Daily News. "I have been getting mixed signals from them for a long time, treating me like a girl in certain stuff and a boy in other stuff."
California's recently implemented School Success and Opportunity Act prohibits schools from discriminating against transgender students, instructing districts to always treat students in accordance with their gender identity. The law, currently facing a repeal effort by antitransgender organizations, was designed with the intent of eliminating some of the double standards trans students often face.
El Rancho Unified School District superintendent Martin Galindo acknowledged that school officials concluded that Holidayy would be best suited to use the school nurse's office when she needed to change for physical education classes. He confirmed that Holidayy has also been using the private restroom in the nurse's office.
Galindo contends that arrangement was mutually agreed upon by both the administration and Holidayy, but the teenager said she felt forced into the compromise. "It made me feel bad and different using the nurse's office," Holidayy told the Daily News.
Galindo told the Daily News, "The district has a strong antibullying program, which addresses sexual orientation, but at the present time does not specifically mention transgender students." He also said he believes the district is in compliance with the School Success and Opportunity Act, despite the agreement that forced Holidayy to utilize facilities separate from other students — a decision that appears to contradict the provisions of the law, which guarantees trans students equal access to school facilities that correspond with their gender identity.
Holidayy's situation is not the only recent incident highlighting the odd double standards to which transgender people are often held. In April, Ashley Del Valle was arrested in Savannah, Ga., for allegedly exposing her breasts in public. After policed learned of her transgender status, she was jailed with men. The case brought up the still-unanswered question: How can someone be arrested for an offense that can only be committed by women, then be charged as a man?