Virginia School District to Ban 'Cross-dressing' in Anti-Bullying Policy


A school district in Suffolk, VA is considering a ban on ‘cross-dressing’ and claims that this policy change would protect students from harassment and bullying. According to Reuters, the school district board began considering this measure following reports from a local high school teacher that “male students were dressing like girls,” leading to complaints from classmates. The new dress code would bar students from wearing clothing “not in keeping with a student’s gender” and that "causes a disruption and/or distracts others from the education process or poses a health or safety concern." Board members are planning a vote on the issue in March.

It is important that media coverage of this story not present the proposed policy as a viable approach to end bullying. This proposed policy is extremely problematic and amounts to nothing more than preemptive victim-blaming. It is an “effort to end bullying” that places the responsibility for safety on bullying victims, demanding that they hide their identities while side-stepping the issues that lead to bullying in the first place. And as James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia rightly points out, "They're calling it cross-dressing, but if that individual was wearing clothes that reflect their gender identity, that's not cross-dressing, that's appropriate gender dressing." Rather than fostering a change in attitudes towards gender non-conforming expression, this policy would enforce the status quo.

GLAAD will continue to monitor this story and asks our readers to report on any problematic coverage. 

Related Stories

Amazin LeThi

Ditch the Label


Interscope Records

GLAAD and Interscope Records today released “Hands,” a musical tribute to the victims of Orlando, featuring Mary J Blige, Jason Derulo, Tyler Glenn, Selena Gomez, Halsey, Ty Herndon, Imagine Dragons, Juanes, Adam Lambert, Mary Lambert, Jennifer Lopez, the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, Kacey Musgraves, MNEK, Alex Newell, P!nk, Prince Royce, Nate Ruess, RuPaul, Troye Sivan, Jussie Smollett, Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani, and Meghan Trainor. The tribute will be made available in the U.S. at iTunes exclusively.