When boys wear skirts to school, it’s normally to poke fun at something or to show solidarity. However, in this touching news story, it was the latter, and gender equality was at the forefront — in support of a trans girl.
Maria, Muniz, a 17-year-old Brazilian student at Pedro II School in Rio de Janeiro, was fined for wearing a skirt to school, a violation of the school’s policy, but only if you’re male. Apparently, Muniz, born a boy, was not comfortable in his skin, and made the decision to come out as a girl, according to Orange.
When fellow classmates heard about the school penalizing Muniz, girls and boys wore skirts to school in protest. Additionally, supporters of the student’s decision to celebrate her sexuality took to social media and shared photos.
— Pablo Lizárraga (@pabloolizarraga) September 15, 2014
After the furor erupted over the school’s fine, teachers and administrators were forced to revisit the uniform standards for its student body.
The trans girl shared her thoughts about the symbolic gesture of support from her friends and supporters at the school.
“I always turned up in trousers but I felt repressed and for me wearing a skirt was about expressing my freedom over who I am inside and not how society sees me. I am really happy about the way my classmates supported me and I hope it serves as an example to others to feel encouraged to do the right thing. I was always taught at school to accept who you are, I am only trying to live that.”
Pep Bonet, a professional photographer and activist among the LGBT community, says Brazil is hardened towards gays, lesbians, and transgenders.
“Many transgender people try to live normal lives, but society in Brazil rejects them. They’re forced into work that’s not so common, prostitution being the main one. The reality is they don’t have the same rights as other people.”
Of note: There is an alarming statistic that reveals Brazil has a high number of violence and murders involving transgender or transsexual victims.
Although officials relaxed their policy and allowed girls and boys to wear skirts to school in wake of the protest, they have not made permanent changes to the uniform dress code. However, educators at the school insist the decision was not based on gender bias, nor was the fine an attempt to infringe upon anyone’s right to align with their sexuality.
A school principal weighed in on the controversial matter.
“The sexual orientation is not important for us, all our students are equal. However, the uniform determines male and female clothing, but we will study a new manual of coexistence.”
With girls and boys wearing skirts to school in support of Maria, hopefully this is a sign the current generation is moving towards tolerance and equality for all people.
[Image via: Mic, Her.ie]