With more students raising the issue of their gender and sexuality, Highgate School is now mulling a proposal to allow its male pupils to wear skirts to school, the BBC reports.
If the new dress code is accepted, boys can then wear the grey pleated skirts they are now forbidden from wearing, when their female peers are allowed to wear grey trousers, dark blue jackets and ties.
“In common with all other schools and youth organisations, yes, we are seeing greater numbers of pupils questioning gender identity than in the past,” Highgate School head Adam Pettitt said.
“We are therefore exploring how our uniform policy could evolve to cater for those who do want to match clothing to gender, as well as those who don’t.”
In addition to gender neutral uniforms, the students also suggested the north London private school allow unisex toilets and make all sports open to all students.
While Pettitt says youths, both in his school and elsewhere, are now more empowered to raise such issues, the school head’s former pupils are less supportive of the idea.
Pettitt acknowledged some of Highgate’s graduates have put in written complaints saying the school was “promoting the wrong ideas”, although such changes would have to be consulted with parents before implementation.
But the school head remains optimistic about Highgate’s current students’ ideas, which he sees as progress from the previous years when such ideas would have been “inconceivable”.
“If they feel happier and more secure in who they are, it must be a good thing,” Pettitt said.
[Guardian] At least 120 schools adopt gender-neutral uniforms, charity says… https://t.co/kh2roIv9eW
— TransgenderNewsPulse (@TransNewsPulse) May 15, 2017
Highgate’s students pitch on dress code follows the footsteps of their peers in independent college, Brighton College, which last year scrapped its uniform code to allow its pupils to wear either a “trouser uniform” and a “skirt uniform” as they please regardless of their biological gender.
Yesterday, UK-based charity Educate & Celebrate, which develops LGBT training in schools, told The Guardian more than 120 UK schools have adopted a gender-neutral stance on school uniform policy, with primary schools taking up this stance faster than secondary schools.