Long Island High School Plans Gender-Neutral Graduation Garb

The new approach was made at the request of an unidentified student

A Long Island high school graduation ceremony later this month will feature gender-neutral attire. 

A spokeswoman for the Port Washington school district says all students graduating from Paul D. Schreiber High School will wear blue gowns and white stoles. Previously, boys wore blue gowns and girls wore white gowns.

Spokeswoman Deirdre Gilligan says the new approach was made at the request of a student who was not identified. 

"We believe the time has come to no longer separate students by gender," schools superintendent Dr. Kathleen Mooney said in a statement. 

Some in the community said Tuesday they don't believe the change was necessary. 

"There's nothing wrong with what they had," said parent Steve Cibants. "There's no reason to change it."

"I think we should just stick to tradition and keep it how it was," said student Remi Mankes.

Local transgender activist Hope Walker disagreed.  

"It's really required. It's required to create a safe space for transgender kids in schools," she said. 

Student Dylan Langone added that students at the school generally want to support a more tolerant atmosphere. 

The school's graduation ceremony is scheduled for June 23. 

The high school is one of several in recent years that have opted for the gender-neutral approach to reflect sensitivity toward transgender students, according to Newsday.

New York State Education Department guidelines cite specific graduation clothing as a practice that could stigmatize transgender students. The state urges schools to eliminate such practices, but so far at most Long Island schools, it appears there are no plans to alter graduation attire this year. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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