Last year, debate sparked among Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland about the color of graduation gowns at each school. About half the schools in Montgomery County assigned different color robes for each sex. This practice came into question when 4 transgender students at one high school were denied the right to wear their preferred colors on their graduation day.

My high school was one of those that assigned the color white for girls and black for boys, a tradition that has been in place for as long as I can remember. I can recall the day I heard that Rockville HS would too be making the switch beginning with my class. Instantly, there was a lot of backlash because students didn’t want to stray from tradition. Truthfully, I was initially upset as well because I liked the idea of graduating in a white gown, something that seemed unique and more special than the traditional black. But overtime I came to realize why this change was so important to maintaining unity among our class, and not differentiating based on our sex category. No one should have to feel uncomfortable or discriminated on their graduation day because they don’t fit the gender binary that society has created. And this is the problem that was highlighted in the comic strip, that our values are evolving but many still suffer from stagnant ideas about gender (Hubbell, 2016). My initial reaction was that tradition is safe and comfortable, but how will we ever make progress if all we want to do is stick with what is familiar? Due to complications, they actually delayed the switch till the year after I graduated, however, seeing the year below me graduate in all the same color was very refreshing and more unifying in appearance. Overall, I am pleased that my former school district is progressing in the direction where it is more accepting of everyone regardless of their sexual orientation.

Below is one of the articles explaining more about the transition:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/color-clash-some-push-for-graduation-robes-that-dont-differ-by-gender/2015/06/07/0b7cecd0-f999-11e4-a13c-193b1241d51a_story.html

Resources:

Hubbell, Justin. 2016. “The Ultimate Break Down of the Gender Binary- Why It Hurst Us All” Everyday Feminism.  (http://everydayfeminism.com/2016/02/gender-binary-hurts-us-all/).

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