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A middle school in Southern California had a Spirit Day recently where they were encouraged to dress as Disney characters. While there is a seemingly limitless supply of choices, it was apparently not made clear that students were only expected to choose from characters that matched their own gender. One student who decided to dress as Elsa from Frozen had his costume taken by the principal.
According to Southern California TV station KTLA, Austin Lacey was something of a hit in his full Elsa dress and blonde wig. Many other students thought he looked great and wanted to get pictures with him. The school administration was less impressed, however. The school principal had somebody take the outfit away from him, and while an official statement from the district states that the action was taken to stop a "general disruption" the word that got back to the student was that the principal didn’t think it was appropriate for a boy to be dressed like a girl.
If the student’s costume was causing such a stir among the other students that it was actually causing some kind of disruption, and to be fair, he does look pretty awesome so that’s possible, then we can understand the school trying to eliminate the problem. At the same time, it’s something of a slippery slope. While, according to Lacey’s mother, this was not a case of her son trying to express his gender identity, if it had been this could have become a serious issue for the school. In fact, the district specifically says in their statement that there was no indication that the student was "expressing any particular message." The implication, of course, is that if he had been trying to express some sort of message, the school might have taken different action.
At the end of the day, if a guy wants to wear a dress to school it’s either ok to do so, or it isn’t. There’s no indication that the dress was worn in any sort of mocking way. Austin Lacey just wanted to wear the Elsa costume. Why not? Frozen is still ridiculously popular and Elsa as a character is well, cool. There’s no reason that boys can’t be fans, so if they want to dress up as her on a day when everybody else is also dressing as their favorite Disney characters, there really shouldn’t be a problem.
If the only reason the school did this is because the principal doesn’t like boys dressed like girls, then the principal has an issue. Clothes are just clothes. The particular way they’re sewn together is semantics. The school should probably take a lesson from the movie. Let it go.