Material Is Immaterial

School Uniform

In a recent article, a school made the headlines for banning skirts in order to make the uniform more gender neutral, which in turn would help transgender pupils. As you can imagine, the keyboard warriors of the internet went bat shit crazy when the story broke. Typical. Reading some of the comments did shock me to a certain extent (I’m used to outbursts from ignorant, small minded people) but, if anything, it showed the problem wasn’t with clothing – it was with people.

First up, this change in uniform wasn’t just for transgender pupils. It was also to deal with the issue of skirts getting shorter and shorter. Banning skirts would solve that too. I remember when I was at school, this was an issue that drove the teachers mad. However despite this, the thing that everybody picked up on was gender. That the world had gone overstepped political correctness by taking away gender, instead forcing children or teenagers to be gender neutral. Often comments or responses were accompanied by “why not let kids just be kids without forcing this on them?!” WHAT?! No, you fucking idiots!! Nobody is forcing your child to be anything different. It’s a uniform. As the word suggests, it’s supposed to be even!! In the article, a parent is quoted as saying

“My daughter said she has got a gender and it’s female, so being gender neutral when she has got a gender is a big deal for her, as she proud to be a girl. I feel girls should be allowed to wear skirts if they want to.”

Well, good for her. Yes, she has a gender, and that gender is female…but hang on, nobody is saying she isn’t female. You’re missing the point!! The uniform is just clothing. Material that is actually immaterial in this case. When I was at school, I preferred not to wear a uniform, full stop. But schools have a uniform for a reason and if that school wanted to change the uniform, then they can do if their reasons are valid. In this case, I believe those reasons are. And I’m not just saying that simply because of my own situation. To be perfectly honest, the school could have allowed pupils to wear skirts or trousers. Anyway, I’m looking at this from a “progress” point of view. Progress because, as I pointed out earlier, it’s people that are the problem. This is one way to educate people that kids have been brought up in a society where boys have to wear one thing, girls wear another. So if anybody is forcing their  daughter or son to be something, it’s society. Rules passed down from generation to generation that have never been questioned or challenged – until now. Like with anything that’s deemed shocking or going against the norm, if people see it enough they become desensitised, meaning we can all get on with our lives.

Adults, being the wise beings they are, always think they know better. But do they? They’re more experienced, yeh. But with experience comes cynicism and negativity. With each day spent in a society that tells us how we should be, it’s far too easy to become resistant to change. Adults are quick to write kids of as just that: kids. They’re immature, mistake-making little beings that don’t know any better. But is that really the case? With parents trying to shield their children from growing up too fast or from things that typically go against society, they lose sight of how self-aware their children are. I was 4 when I realised there was something wrong with me. I knew my body didn’t match my brain. If there’s anything I didn’t know, it was how to express it. I wish I ad back then, before I got caught up in what society expected of me being male. These days, little boys are openly telling their parents they want to be a princess or girls saying they want to be boys. The world has changed. Kids are a lot more switched on than parents give them credit for. If anything, it’s the parents (or small-minded folk) who haven’t changed with the world. They remain stuck in the beliefs or values which they were taught when growing up. People need to realise that kids aren’t stupid. If anything, they are pure. They haven’t been tainted by society. They haven’t had to sit and watch the awful stuff that goes on in the world. Kids don’t lie (unless they think they’re getting into trouble…but who made them feel like they would be?), they say what they think and they don’t give a fuck about how it sounds or what others may think of them. That’s true freedom and true honesty.

In another article, I read that a transgender teen took his own life because the school said he couldn’t change his name. The school insisted that Leo had to be 16 before he could do that. Ummm, why? I’m sure they wouldn’t insist on a pupil being 16 if they wanted to use a shortened version of their name. So why were they denying him the most basic of things? Our names form our identity. His name was his identity. After the struggle he would have gone through to admit to being transgender, why be so obstructive? What I found really disrespectful was the head teacher’s comments. Even after his tragic death, she still couldn’t refer to Leo by his name. Fucking. Disgusting. Again, this is nothing to do with forcing anything on kids or confusing them. Ironically, it’s people (adults) thinking they know better, who are forcing kids to be a certain way. A head teacher insisting Leo wasn’t old enough to know better yet, or parents insisting their sons cannot wear a skirt etc. Why not let the child choose for themselves? What’s so bad about that? The issue of gender in schools was also debated on Sky News too, which attracted some fierce comments on the twitter post.

It doesn’t just affect kids though. Adults are subjected to the same thing by others who “know best”. A story about the Royal Marines banning dresses on nights out was just fucking ridiculous, and showed t. They’re worried about other nations not taking them seriously.

“The Royal Marines are an elite fighting force – not a bunch of cross-dressers.”

Hold on…do they realise King Henry VIII wore tights? Did that affect his reputation? If an off duty soldier wants to wear a dress, then who cares?? I’d take them seriously if they had a rifle aimed at me – dress or no dress. They’re so worried about how soldiers look (off duty), yet they’re happy to make soldiers lift up/put down a rifle, move it from shoulder to shoulder or walk in perfect lines?? Are they planning to dazzle the enemy into submission with their choreography??! My point is that old fashioned opinions are a huge cause of all this. Not the clothes. Wearing a dress doesn’t make you weak. Trousers don’t make you less female. Clothing isn’t necessarily the thing that needs to change, it’s attitudes. When they do, people will feel more comfortable in being themselves. I can honestly say that half of my problem was admitting it to myself, the other half was down to the attitudes of others holding me back from embracing who I am and having to live in fear instead.


Featured image: via Google

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