Triumph after trans pupil fights for photo to be included in yearbook after headmaster tells her she is ‘violating dress code’

Jasmine Andersson April 4, 2018
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A transgender pupil has won the battle to have her high school photo included in her school’s yearbook after the image was scrubbed from the compendium for “violating the dress code”.

Kami Pham, who is a student at Southwood High School in Louisiana, was told that her photo would not be included in the school’s yearbook just a fortnight before publication, as the headmaster of the institution said that she violated the school dress code because her appearance was inconsistent with her birth certificate.

In her photo, Kami wore a polo shirt and jeans, which was not in violation of the school’s dress code.

The principal also threatened to not allow the pupil to graduate if she dressed to reflect her true self.

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 23: Hundreds protest a Trump administration announcement this week that rescinds an Obama-era order allowing transgender students to use school bathrooms matching their gender identities, at the Stonewall Inn on February 23, 2017 in New York City. Activists and members of the transgender community gathered outside the historic LGTB bar to denounce the new policy. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

“If I wore that same outfit, there would be no problem; no one would say anything. So why treat Kami any different just because of what her birth certificate says?” said Kami’s friend and fellow Southwood pupil Tatjana Cotton to KTBS.

In response, a petition was launched in support of Kami, and has accrued 4,641 signatures so far.

“What we want is an apology and a rule change for all students so they can express themselves regardless of the gender on their birth certificate,” Tatjana, who created the petition, wrote on the page.

“We would like to see these actions taken as quickly as possible because they do in fact violate legal rights of a student as well as the Title IX revisions made in 2010.

(Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

We have already contacted legal groups who will help us if legislation is not put into place on a district level to protect the rights of gender non-conforming students. Kami may not have been the first, but we for sure want her to be the last.”

Thanks to the campaign, the school’s board have reneged, and Kami’s photo will be printed in the yearbook.

She will also be allowed to wear heels and whatever hairstyle she decides to her graduation.

“Caddo Parish stands by the First Amendment right of students to express themselves,” the district’s statement read.

Protesters gather in front of the White House on July 26, 2017, in Washington, DC. Trump announced on July 26 that transgender people may not serve "in any capacity" in the US military, citing the "tremendous medical costs and disruption" their presence would cause. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

“That belief is supported within the Caddo Parish School Board’s approved dress code policy. This expression is without regard to race, colour, religion, age, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.”

Transgender rights have been in flux since the scrapping of Title IX protections in schools.

The protections, which ensure that transgender people are offered the same rights as cisgendered people, such as the right to use a bathroom according to their gender, have been scrapped by the Trump administration.

Related topics: Title IX, Trans, transgender rights, US, US

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