skirting the issue

Did Hamish Jacobs’ School Deny His Graduation Kilt Request To Avoid ‘Cross-Dressing’ or an Accidental Flashing?

Nineteen-year-old Canadian student Hamish Jacobs was bummed when both his principal and superintendent turned down his request to wear his family kilt to the Raymond High School graduation. And while international Facebookers lambasted the school for cultural insensitivity, gender bias, and violating Jacobs’ right to self-expression, the school might just have had a less evil reason for refusing his request: not wanting an individual student to stand out or … accidentally flash his junk during the ceremony.

Jacobs’ family emigrated from Scotland in 1965 and though he has never been to Scotland and has only worn a kilt once in his life, Jacobs says he wanted to wear it out of respect for his ancestors and as a traditional part of Scottish formal wear. “I find it funny,” he says. “The school teaches you to respect your heritage, be different, be yourself. And so I am going to be different, being myself. And they don’t like that.”

An official at Raymond High School says the policy is regional and that it’s there to ensure no one student steals the spotlight in a ceremony meant to recognize all students equally. She laughed when I asked her about a commenter’s claim the school wanted to avoid an accidental flashing saying, “No, I don’t think that’s a worry.” She also added that each senior gets to wear whatever they like at a senior fashion show in June where they highlight individual achievements, future goals, and individual style and added that Jacobs has also been invited to wear his kilt at the post-commencement dinner.

(NB: “Cross-dressing” is in air quotes for the obvious reason that men wearing kilts is not actually cross-dressing.)

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  • Rashid

    Canadians are so clever. If only the rest of the world learned from them and used them as a shining example.

    No sarcasm intended, really. I think the world of Canada.

  • REBELComx

    No one would be able to see the kilt under his graduation robes anyway. And since the school invited him to wear it to other school functions, i don’t really see any reason for suspicion of the school’s choice. We weren’t even allowed to wear SHORTS for my high school graduation.

  • tavdy79

    Canada is a Commonwealth Realm, so their formal dress code is the same as the one used in the UK, which means the formal dress code in Canada specifically includes the use of a kilt for formal evening and morning dress, as long as the person wearing the kilt has the right to use the tartan. In other words, as long as Hamish Jacobs is descended from the clan (or branch of the clan) to which the tartan belongs, he can wear it – and there’s every indication that this is the case. So technically the school doesn’t have the right to prevent Mr. Jacobs from wearing a kilt to his graduation – only the clan chief or (if the clan is armigerous) reigning monarch can.

  • Jaroslaw

    I think most of those guys wear underwear too. Wool is pretty itchy…. so where is the problem?

  • REBELComx

    @Jaroslaw: A true Scotsman does not wear undergarments with a kilt. Haven’t you seen Braveheart? lol

  • Jaroslaw

    very good Rebelcox….I did see Braveheart but I don’t remember that. Yes, I do know that you’re not SUPPOSED to wear underwear under them, but I think the school could have made an agreement with him to wear underwear. And like I said, I still think most guys do wear underwear with those itchy things.

  • Jaroslaw

    Goodness, the more I think about this the worse it gets. NO ONE is going to steal the show. Each family is focused on their graduate anyway! I’m sure my parents could care less if the person next to me had electric twinkling lights in their hair!

    And Reb, what I meant was I don’t remember seen anything in Braveheart. Guess Ill have to watch it again. :)

  • REBELComx

    @Jaroslaw: One of the early major battles, the Scots give the English the Ole Highland Salute, in which they turn around, bend over and pick up their kilts to moon the opposing army.

  • TampaZeke

    Jaroslaw, most modern kilts are lined but even if they weren’t kilts are made of very high quality wool that is VERY soft and comfortable; even when one goes “regimental”, or as we say in the States, “commando”.

  • Jaroslaw

    Thanks for the info – unfortunately blood pressure meds have made my legs very ugly so I won’t be wearing a kilt anyhow – but since we are continuing to discuss – DO most modern guys wear underwear or not with a kilt? I’m guessing yeah, they do.

  • MikeE

    @tavdy79: ROFLMAO you really don’t know much about Canada, eh?

  • MikeE

    @Jaroslaw: I recently started researching my family tartan to have a formal kit made, and almost every “official” source on kilt etiquette says that yes, indeed, you do wear underclothing beneath your kilt.

    Mad Max may not have worn undies while he was storming the Brits, but then, the Brits were probably not wearing undies under their pants either.

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