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Letter: Eastchester Alumnus Decries Cross-Dressing Ban

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EASTCHESTER, N.Y. -- The Eastchester Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Please send letters to eastchester@dailyvoice.com .

To the Editor:

As a recent graduate of Eastchester High School, I distinctly and disturbingly remember this ban on cross-dressing and the administration’s lack of justification for upholding such a rule.

This precedent is discriminatory for students who are  struggling with their gender identities and upholds the archaic ideas behind our socially structured gender binary.

The administration of Eastchester High School has only recently defended such policy with the reasoning that cross-dressing can be offensive to certain individuals.

The irony of this logic is that upholding such regulations are oppressive to individuals the administration is attempting to protect. How can someone ever really feel comfortable with their gender identity if they cannot physically express their identity with their clothing?  Gender is a socially constructed idea that places individuals into the category of man or woman.

Individuals are assigned a gender at birth but do not always identify with this gender. Hence, people can be trans* (pronounced trans-star, a term that encompasses all trans identities) in which individuals identify with the gender they feel comfortable as. Eastchester High School directly violates the rights of trans* individuals to freely express themselves.

The response from the administration of Eastchester High School is that students are allowed to cross-dress any other day that is not Halloween. When I was a student at Eastchester High School, this was not the case.

Several times my fellow classmates wore skirts or blouses or baggy jeans resulting in a meeting in principal Dr. Capuano’s office, where my classmates were told they were not allowed to cross-dress.

Now, the school has finally responded to this issue after years of ignoring the student population, because the issue is salient in the media.

Hopefully, the administration will now fully intend to reverse the cross-dressing rule because of the increase attention from news outlets and apparently unforeseen discriminatory intent.  Additionally, the administration has no basis for banning cross-dressing for Halloween costumes. As the heads of the school have argued, the ban is to ensure no one is offensive or offended, the administration has the power to address these  concerns with specific students. Instead of banning cross-dressing, the school should be teaching students about gender and sexual identity.

We should not be teaching our students to uphold suppression toward a group of people, but expanding  their mindsets about these concepts.

The world is changing. Groups of people who never had a voice are now heard. I urge the administration of Eastchester High School to change with the world and see the beauty of open-mindedness.  Hopefully, this ban of cross-dressing is fully reversed in order to protect and allow students to be who they are without Eastchester High School unintentionally suppressing their self-actualization.

Kevin Winnie

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