Is a male dressing up as a female for laughs something that should’ve ended a long time ago? For those who aren’t familiar with the term “transgender”, they are people who have a gender identity, or gender expression, that differs from their assigned sex. At WCI’s first spirit assembly of the 2016/2017 school year, the spirit directors dressed up in women’s cheerleading uniforms. Imagine being a transgender person who doesn’t feel comfortable dressing in the clothes that feel comfortable because they are scared of other people opinions. Imagine if four students, who represent WCI, made it seem like it was just something to use as a joke. The spirit directors might not have noticed that what they were doing could potentially offend someone, which is why I think we need more awareness. I spoke to a gay male, and a transgender person, who transitioned from female to male. I showed them this picture from the spirit assembly and explained what was happening.
Tynan, a gay male, said “I personally feel like I can’t wear some of the clothes that I own because I’ll be judged or frowned upon, and for them to blatantly do that for the sole purpose of a quick laugh is honestly disgusting.” He continued to express his feelings towards the subject and said, “They’re literally making it look like dressing in clothing made for the opposite gender if you’re not that gender is nothing but a joke”.
Sophia, a transgender female to male, had the same opinion as Tynan. He explained that “There are guys out there who want to wear dresses and it’s so messed up when people mock that, or “play dress up” in women’s clothes. I understand drag queens and performers dressing up as the opposite gender, but I guess in all, it’s just obnoxious. And the stereotyping is old school.”
Student leaders and teachers in charge of these events should be aware of what they are putting out there for entertainment. Anything that is a form of mockery – particularly toward marginalized or vulnerable students – should not be allowed inside a school, or anywhere. There are some circumstances where it is not mockery and it is used in an artistic way. Drag queens dress up in women’s clothing, but it is a hobby and sometimes even a profession. Regardless, it is not a form of expression that is used to mock others or to get laughs.
I think that being inclusive and cautious of others is something that our school can work on. Teachers and student leaders should carefully consider the content that they are putting out to the school, to avoid causing offense. In a world with so many cultures and identities, it’s important to make sure everyone feels included, comfortable, and accepted. Our school did a poor job of making every student feel comfortable and I hope this article can bring awareness to the issue and help make the future of WCI a better experience for all.