In a surprise late January vote, Clovis Unified School District trustees upheld a dress code requiring gender-appropriate clothing and hair. The trustees must not have known about Chloe Lacey.
At Buchanan High School, Chloe was known as “Justin” at school. She kept her identity a closely held secret at school, Chloe’s mother, Allison Murphy, told the media following her suicide Sept. 24, 2010. Allison Murphy said that Chloe suffered depression and anxiety because of pressure to “fit in” according to preexisting social expectations. She was afraid at school.
In an era of transgender celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner, Chaz Bono and Laverne Cox, the world is learning more about the experience of being born as the wrong gender. More than 40 percent of all transgender individuals either successfully commit, or attempt, suicide.
Clovis Unified now faces a fork in the road: to continue to promote its own culture of privilege, or to join the rest of the modern world and actually begin teaching tolerance for gender nonconformity to its teachers, students and community, instead of being a hindrance to it.
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James Smith, Fresno