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The LGTBQ Push to Nix High School Tradition

Students forced to don 'gender-neutral' gowns for graduation

The LGTBQ activism machine has been busy breaking down barriers of tradition — and common sense — to make chaotic something as simple as high school graduation robes.

After a concerted effort of intimidation by the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Network, the 2016 graduates of Glastonbury High School in Glastonbury, Connecticut, are switching to gender-neutral gowns for this year’s graduation. The move will erase all gender identification, something school board member Lillian Tanski calls “totally appropriate.”

Glastonbury joins other U.S. high schools in stomping on an American school tradition. The new graduation gowns will be the same for boys and girls — blue for one and all.

“Personally, I like the idea of the gender-neutral gown,” Tanski told LifeZette Thursday. “And as a woman and a parent in town, I am always in favor of doing away with any symbolism of a time when men and women were supposed to take different paths.”

Town council member Whit Osgood was not so exuberant. “As a town council member who approves tax increases, I hope the old gowns were worn out,” he told LifeZette.

Glastonbury is not exactly a bastion of liberalism in Connecticut. Both the board of education and the town council have Republican majorities.

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Yet no matter the makeup of a school district, the GSA Network has pushed for such attire changes. “Most seniors are excited for graduation, but for gender nonconforming and trans students, it can mean a choice between being themselves and walking across the stage to get their degree,” the group says on its website. “If your school assigns gowns of different colors according to gender; forces male students to wear a tux and female students to wear a drape in their senior photos; or has a discriminatory dress code for its graduation ceremony, you have the right to contest it!”

Glastonbury resident Mark DeLuzio said of the graduation attire change, “The minority is driving the majority with this decision. It’s coming — same-sex showers, multi-gender bathrooms, the whole package. We are on that slippery slope here in Glastonbury.” DeLuzio lost a son, Sgt. Steven DeLuzio, in Afghanistan in August 2010. His son was awarded the Bronze Star.

“I never had a daughter,” Mark DeLuzio told LifeZette. “But if I did, some of these PC changes would be a real problem for me.”

The use of different colors for male and female robes (traditionally white for girls and a darker color for boys) is being sacked in many communities in favor of one color for all, in deference to the sexual elite.

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Sharon High School in Sharon, Massachusetts, has been down this path. In 2014, some students approached their principal, Jose Libano, with a request: They wanted one color robe for all students, the Boston Globe reported. “Now, all graduates wear maroon.” Some educators and students said transgender students might not be prepared for a gender-specific robe that might serve as a public declaration. They also said some students are still “sorting out” their gender identity.

In Reading, Massachusetts, the issue came up before last year’s high school graduation. The administration was moving toward same-color robes for everyone, but parents pushed back hard. The plans were subsequently put on ice.

“I have respect for all, but some of us had bought the robes that could no longer be used if this were to take place,” said one Reading mom. “This has gone beyond what is reasonable and rational, and it took the focus off all the accomplishments of that senior class to cater to what is a minority of the graduating population.”

“It’s absurd that … something that should be gender-neutral like education can culminate in gender segregation,” wrote The Advocate, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender publication in an op-ed entitled “A Gown with No Gender.” “Women are probably told to wear a dress and heels underneath — because you’re a lady, darn it, and you’re going to be dignified!”

That’s a lot of outrage and unrest about the crossing of a stage and the turning of a tassel.

“What a silly thing to zero in on,” said one Maryland woman when she heard about the uni-robe movement. “It’s almost as if the (LGBTQ) movement has become bored, and is casting around for non-issues.”

Yet Principal Nancy Bean said the gown change is helpful to the students of Glastonbury High. “They felt we needed to focus on a less traditional gown and it would be really helpful to have a united and cohesive class,” she told the local CBS affiliate.

Gown grabs and gripes are surfacing in other states. In Illinois, Ohio, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Washington State, conversations are bubbling up, with students applying wobbly math to the issue.

“To say the least, I am disappointed in the way the graduation ceremony is organized,” Pennsylvania senior Amanda Chen wrote in the Teen Takeover blog in 2013 in the York Daily Record.  “It reminds me of calculus; my teacher always says, ‘You cannot just acknowledge the theory. You must understand the math and apply it to the problem.’”

But math is applied incorrectly here. The majority of American high school students do not need their gender acknowledged, celebrated, articulated or called out on a day that is supposed to be about their academic achievement. And neither should others put their own confused sexual identifies before the proper celebration and longstanding rites of passage at American high schools nationwide.

This article has been updated.

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