One month after a private secondary school in England banned its male students from wearing shorts during the summer - instead requesting that they wear a more "gender neutral" ensemble that includes a skirt, dozens of private schools have taken up the banner of intersectional feminism and banned their female students from wearing skirts as part of their uniforms.
The reason? Because the "growing" number of transgender students at these schools aren't comfortable with traditional "gendered" uniforms, according to RT. Instead, secondary schools like the Priory School in Lewes, East Sussex, are asking female students to "accommodate" their transgender peers by wearing trousers, just like male students do.
"We have a small but increasing number of transgender students and therefore having the same uniform is important for them," said Headteacher Tony Smith. However, some parents have chafed at the fact that they weren't consulted about the ban, and others have argued that female students should still have the option of wearing a skirt, according to RT.
Diane Burdaky, parent of a pupil at Philips High School told RT that there had been no consultation process and that the children did "not want to wear trousers all the time."
She said: "I was very shocked. There was no consultation with any parents or students. There was no explanation for the ban. No reasons given whatsoever. I know the children at school do not want to wear trousers all the time."
Copleston High School in Ipswich has placed skirts on a list of "inadmissible" items - along with "skinny jeans and facial piercings." Eight secondary schools in Ipswich have now banned skirts and have opted to become "trousers only" schools. Some schools have opted to couch their skirt bans with the excuse that skirts - which female students have been wearing for decades - unfairly sexualize female pupils.
Indeed, gender-neutral uniform policies have grown increasingly popular in UK schools since the introduction of the Equality Act in 2010. Under its provisions, the law leaves schools with a duty to protect transgender students from discrimination.
Unsurprisingly, the skirt bans haven't been as readily embraced by the UK public.
Just read that schools are banning skirts to encourage a gender neutral uniform. I’m sorry, but this is stopping girls from being girls. That’s not being neutral that’s like a ban in identity. Bloody ridiculous. How on earth has British society reached this point?— Sarie Weaving (@SWeavie) July 2, 2018
I don’t see why they need to ban skirts in schools. I get that we want to include transgender children and we should, at my school it was always a choice if we wanted to wear a skirt or not and no one would’ve thought anything of someone wearing trousers over a skirt. #GMB— laura.🧜🏼♀️ (@PopcornDonuts) July 3, 2018
Given the increasing hostility to "choice" and "freedom of expression" in UK schools, we can't help but wonder what's next: Will they start forcing everyone to use gender neutral pronouns, too?