As Japan moves toward being a more LGBTQ+ friendly country, one school is implementing a flexible uniform policy for transgender students.
Japanese schools, while steadily becoming more inclusive for LGBTQ+ students, are notorious for strict school uniforms with many even dictating what type of haircut pupils must have. But one public middle school in the Chiba region differs from the norm.
Kashiwanoha Junior High School has recently made the decision to relax strict uniform rules in order to accommodate LGBTQ+ students.
The school will now allow students to “mix and match” uniform options.
Originally girls were required to wear a blazer, ascot tie, Oxford shirt and skirt, and boys a traditional blazer, tie, Oxford shirt and trousers, according to Anime News Network. However, students will now be allowed to wear whatever combination they feel most comfortable in, irrespective of gender.
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The decision came following a discussion between school officials and parents, in which current uniform guidelines were debated. They concluded the traditional Japanese uniform rules, which dictated clothing based on gender, were archaic and opted for new rules applicable to modern students.
According to Anime News Network, staff at Kashiwanoha High claimed the rules were already rather lax as girls often chose to wear trousers to school rather than the traditional skirt. However, they stressed male students – or those assigned as male at birth – likely still felt unable to wear a skirt to school even if they would be happier in one.
Staff claimed these students may feel social resistance to wearing a skirt and the new policy will help to eradicate that stigma.
As of 2017, Japanese schools have an anti-bullying policy in place, designed to protect the school community.
The new uniform rules will officially be brought into place at Kashiwanoha High at the beginning of the new school year in April.