[TW: institutional gender-policing and gender-expression-policing in schools]
I would like everyone who has ever proposed or supported anything like this to take a deep breath and repeat after me: The solution to bullying is not to force the victim to assimilate better. The solution to bullying is to punish those who bully.
Prompted, this time, by a school district in Virginia that wants to add a section to their dress code for students, banning what news articles are referring to as "cross-gender clothing". The actual language for it specifies clothing "that is not in keeping with a student's gender and causes a disruption and/or distracts others from the educational process or poses a health or safety concern."
The school board members who are proposing and supporting this transphobic bullshit are pretending it's a student-safety issue, citing "boys who wore feminine clothing" (the article doesn't actually say anything about the kids in question, whether they're cis boys who were cross-dressing or femme'ing, or trans girls being misgendered, or genderqueer individuals, or what; the "boys in feminine clothing" line is from the school board member, so I don't know how accurate a description it is) who apparently had to use a faculty restroom because they felt unsafe in the student bathrooms.
The solution to bullying is not to force the victim to assimilate better. The solution to bullying is to punish those who bully.
There are two paths to ensuring student safety in this situation. The school can either crack down on bullying and anti-trans* harassment among the student body (supporting the victims) or they can try to regulate away the trans* kids' gender expression so as not to make cis kids uncomfortable (supporting the bullies). I think it's pretty clear which way is NOT how it should be done, y'know? When your approach to student safety involves coddling the bigots and bullies and reprimanding/disciplining the victims for provoking the bullies' assaults, you are very much on the wrong side of things. Case in point: the second comment in the comments thread following the linked article is by a person in support of the proposed rule basically saying that using violence to keep people in line with social expectations is totally normal: "People wanna be different and push society to accept them, sooner or later society will push back..just saying." These are the people this rule would support, not the people who suffer violence or threats of violence at their hands. (As a side note, DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS. A couple of good ones are tucked in there, but mostly it's bigots showing their asses, and nobody needs to see that.)
Of course, I actually keep lol'ing a little bit at the way they're phrasing this shitty clause. They repeatedly refer to "cross-gender" or "appropriate to the student's gender" or "in keeping with the student's gender". Which, um. If you're talking about an AMAB trans girl wearing a dress or something? Is totally in keeping with her gender. It's not in keeping with her assigned sex, which is what the school district is really referring to, but it is in keeping with her gender. By doing this, the school is in fact trying to force her to wear clothes not in keeping with her gender. The school district is trying to make themselves the arbiters of students' genders, when you come right down to it.
And out of curiosity, how are they going to define "appropriate to one's gender"? That's a really subjective concept. Some people believe that pants are inappropriate for girls. Are we going to end up going back to the days when girls literally weren't allowed to wear pants to school? (My mom has told me that it wasn't until she was in high school that girls were allowed to wear pants to school!)
This rule is a clusterfuck of cissexism, transphobia, and just sheer stupidity and ignorance. So let's poll-bomb the news site! Go here and vote "no", if you'd be so kind. And let's hope that the school district sees reason and/or chooses to focus on the real issues of bullying at play in this situation, instead of trying to forcibly misgender trans* and gender-non-conforming kids under the banner of "student safety".