When we last left you, Ceara Sturgis—who was suing her Mississippi school for banning her from wearing a tuxedo in her graduation photo—had hurtled past a motion by Copiah County officials to dismiss the case. Now the lesbian teen has gotten a measure of justice: School officials at Wesson Attendance Center have agreed to do away with gender-specific
pronouns graduation-picture outfits altogether.
According to the ACLU: “The district has agreed to adopt a policy that will require all students to wear a cap and gown, rather than require boys to wear tuxedos and girls to wear drapes.”
While they can’t go back in time and paste her picture in the 2009 yearbook (or her name, seeing as she was fully excluded), Sturgis will appear in the class’s composite photo that hangs in the school library—with her tuxedo and sweet mop top intact.
And she’s happy about the whole sitch: “I am thrilled that my photo will join [the class picture].” she says. “It’s important that nobody else will be forced to wear something that doesn’t reflect who they are.”
“Hopefully no other students will be excluded from this important rite of passage simply for expressing themselves,” said Bear Atwood, legal director of the ACLU of Mississippi. “Copiah County School District has done the right thing by changing the yearbook policy so no students have to feel as if they’re out of place.”
This is great and all, but we’re wondering whether the best policy for the school district would have been not to institute the one-size-fits-all gender-neutral cap and gown (so 1899!) but to allow students to choose whether they want ladylike drapes and pearls, manly tuxes, or asexual caps and gowns. Baby steps?
Photos via Ceara Sturgis, bensonk42