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Judge says school can force trans girl to dress like boy at graduation

In her four years at Harrison Central High, the student has identified as female and worn dresses and women’s clothing at school.
Judge says school can force trans girl to dress like boy at graduation
Posted at 12:48 PM, May 20, 2023

A judge in Mississippi has denied a request to allow a transgender female student to wear a dress at her school's graduation ceremony, reports say.

The decision from Judge Taylor McNeel came after hours of testimony in federal court from the Harrison Central High School student, the superintendent of the Harrison County School District, and others, according to the Sun Herald, a Mississippi-based newspaper.

The emergency injunction came after a lawsuit was filed Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU of Mississippi said on Twitter that the ruling, which came down late Friday, means L.B., the trans student, can be banned from graduation unless she wears boys clothing, which includes socks, dress shoes, pants, a button-down shirt, and a tie.

The ACLU called the decision one of explicit discrimination, saying it was "deeply disappointing and concerning."

"Our client should be focused on celebrating this life milestone alongside her friends and loved ones," the ACLU tweeted. "Instead, this ruling casts shame and humiliation on a day that should be focused on joy and pride."

"All Mississippi students should have the right and autonomy to be who they are—not who judges and school officials think they should be," the ACLU continued.

The ACLU lawsuit was filed on behalf of L.B. and her parents, Samantha and Henry Brown, according to the Sun Herald. Samantha testified on Friday.

L.B. said she found out on May 9 in a meeting with Harrison Central High School Principal Kelly Fuller that she would not be allowed to wear a dress to its graduation ceremony, the Sun Herald said. L.B. and her mother had already purchased a white dress and shoes for her to wear under her cap and gown by that time.

L.B. called her mother crying after the meeting. She said it left her feeling depressed.

Her mother argued on Friday that the seemingly last-minute decision came after relatives, friends, and others were already invited to an after-party to celebrate her daughter’s accomplishments.

The school stood by a dress code form that was signed, stating that girls were to wear white dresses and certain shoes, and boys were to wear a button-down, a tie, and boys’ shoes. Their logic was that because L.B. was born a male, she had to wear the boys’ attire.

In her four years at Harrison Central High School, L.B. has identified as female and worn dresses and women’s clothing at school. She said she would miss the ceremony if she was not permitted to wear a dress.

SEE MORE: Texas department implements gender-based dress code

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