GARY, Ind. A lesbian student who wore a tuxedo to the prom said it is unfair that a male student was turned away because he was wearing a dress.
Taleisha Badgett said West Side High School should not succumb to traditional gender codes. She wants the school to adopt universal restrictions for both sexes.
“Girls can dress like a boy and they are just seen as tomboys,” Badgett told the Post-Tribune of Merrillville. “It’s not a big deal. But if boys wear girls’ clothes it’s a problem. It’s not acceptable. That’s not right.”
Badgett, 17, dressed in a tuxedo, went to the prom with her girlfriend. But Kevin Logan, who attended school all year wearing women’s clothing, was denied entrance in a dress to the prom.
The school’s dress policy, which quotes the First Amendment right of freedom of expression, prohibits halter tops, miniskirts and attire promoting profanity, among other things. It does not say boys cannot wear dresses or skirts.
However, a clause in the code says administrators can ban clothing they think would be disruptive. That discretionary judgment is what concerns Badgett and her girlfriend, Laniqua Gaines, who said it’s a window for prejudice that makes victims of boys such as Logan, 18, who prefers to present himself as a female.
Badgett and Gaines, who wore a dress to the prom, say they have no problem with a ban on revealing clothes. But if a dress or skirt covers adequately and would be permissible for a girl, they think it should also be allowed for boys.
“Some girls came to the prom half-naked, and that was allowed. If he [Logan] would have shown up in a tuxedo, that would have been more shocking. And he would have denied himself. It would have been a win for those against him,” Badgett said.
Logan’s next obstacle could be graduation. Girls are set to wear orange robes, while boys will wear blue.”If I can’t wear an orange robe, I want to see it in writing,” Logan said.
Logan will wear blue if forced to, but said, “I’m not wearing a suit underneath.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 26, 2006.