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Over 66,000 people have signed an electronic petition in support of a 17-year-old, gay student suspended from his school for wearing nail polish.
Trevor Wilkinson attends Clyde High School, near Abilene, in Texas. He says when he returned from Thanksgiving last Monday, he was called aside by a teacher. He was given an in-school suspension (ISS) and told his nail polish violated the school’s dress code for male students.
The school handbook states boys cannot wear make-up or nail polish. However, Wilkinson, and many others, say this is discriminatory and sexist as it does not apply to female students.
“Imagine your school not allowing boys to paint their nails and giving boys iss for it. and the whole administration being okay with it, homophobic and sexist? welcome to west texas🤠” Wilkinson said in a tweet that day.
On Thursday, Wilkinson was informed by his Principal and Vice-Principal that he could choose to take classes remotely until January, go home and remove his nail polish, or keep the nail polish and remain suspended. He said he was choosing to keep his nail polish.
Wilkinson told KRBC-TV: “Ever since I came out I have been having more issues at Clyde than what I normally would. I really wasn’t surprised that this was a thing. Clyde is very traditional.”
Following his meeting with the Principal, Wilkinson launched a petition urging the school to change its policy. He is being supported by a local LGBTQ advocacy group, Abiline Pride Alliance, among others.
On the petition, Wilkinson said, “I am a gay male and I’m beyond proud. 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 writing, over 66,000 have signed the petition.
On social media, Wilkinson is getting some high-profile support. Queer Eye’s Bobby Berk tweeted, “Try maybe focusing on these kids education instead of their nails @clydecisd. I stand with you @trevvowilkinson … as I type this with painted nails Nail polish”
— Bobby Berk (@bobbyberk) December 5, 2020
The school has issued a statement saying it does not normally change its dress code policy in the middle of a school year.
“The District conducts a diligent and thoughtful review of the dress code on an annual basis,’ it said.
“That review process results in the development of a final dress code that is consistently implemented and enforced during the next school year.
“Parents and students are provided a copy of the dress code prior to the start of each new school year.
“Questions or concerns with the dress code are reviewed individually, and the District cannot share any information regarding a specific student.
“The District appreciates the feedback and input on this issue received from members of the community, and will take this into consideration when it conducts its annual review later this school year.”
Wilkinson has been overwhelmed by the support he has received. Besides people signing the petition, others have directly contacted the school to complain about Wilkinson’s suspension.
Again, thank you ALL for your support and i’m so happy that WE can all come together and make a much needed change not only in Texas, but everywhere!!! Y’all are amazing!❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/s5loe1irQp
— trevvvv;) (@trevvowilkinson) December 6, 2020
On Instagram, he wrote: “Thank you everyone for your support. I cannot express that enough and I could not have gotten this far without you guys! I know a lot of you have called and emailed my school board – flooding their voicemails and inboxes.
“Thank you for standing alongside me to create change so that students like me can express ourselves in authentic ways in school and focus on our studies rather. As well as ending the gender norms that society has oppressed on us.
“Please continue to call and email but for those of you who want to challenge dangerous gender stereotypes you can join me in painting your nails and rocking them all over Texas and the country. Paint your nails and put #TeamTrevor !!”