Trevor Wilkinson, the gay Texas high school senior suspended for painting his nails, has dealt a blow to his school administration in the best possible way. In addition to becoming a national and internet celebrity, Wilkinson has netted 130,000 signatures on a petition to have his in-school suspension overturned with more than half of those coming in overnight.
Wilkinson attends Clyde High School near the Texas city of Abeline. When he returned from Thanksgiving break last week, teachers disciplined him for having painted nails–something prohibited in males per the school’s dress code. Wilkinson accepted an in-school suspension, but didn’t do so quietly. He launched a petition on Change.org with a goal of 150,000 signatures to have his disciplinary action overturned.
“Hello, my name is Trevor Wilkinson and I am a senior at Clyde High School,” the student wrote on his petition page. “Today, I got ISS (in school suspension) for having my nails painted. I was told that I will continue to get ISS until I take them off. It’s a complete double standard because girls are allowed to paint and get their nails done. Not only that, but freedom of expression is validation enough that the dress code and policy is not okay.”
“I am a gay male and I’m beyond proud,” he continues. “This is unjust and not okay. Help me show that it is okay to express yourself and that the identity that society wants to normalize is not okay. I am a human. I am valid. I should not get in trouble for having my nails done. Sign and share this so people like me don’t have to ever deal with this again. It’s time for a change and that time is now.”
At the time of this writing, almost 137,000 people have signed the petition, with Wilkinson getting a significant boost after Good Morning America reported on his story December 7. School officials at Clyde High have not given a straight answer as to whether popular outcry could lead to the school overturning Wikliknson’s suspension. The school did, however, tell Good Morning America that it “appreciates the feedback” and will “take it into consideration.”