Down in Wesson Mississippi, not terribly far from where a Justice of the Prejudice recently denied an interracial couple a marriage license, we have a school district getting its gender-appropriate knickers in a twist over the senior class portrait of Ceara Sturgis.
Ceara had her portrait taken wearing a tuxedo, rather than the photo-studio supplied portrait-collar-n-pearls look that girls are expected to wear. Ceara, by her own reports doesn’t dress “like a girl. I don’t even own any girl clothes.” She gamely tried it on, but quickly switched to what is, for her, much more appropriate garb.
This outrageous display of a young woman presenting herself in a thoroughly- and comfortably-dressed fashion could not go unpunished by her school’s officials, who are effectively vanishing Ceara from her own yearbook by refusing to include her picture.
The Copiah County School Board is hedging on the matter, saying only that it “goes beyond” the clothing issue. Which is sekrit kode for “lesbian panic,” because Ceara, 17, is openly gay. No comment from officials is being given on the issue of her sexuality or the role it may be playing in their decision. Ahem.
Ceara is rightfully confused about what makes her manner of dress so offensive: last year, her school hosted a themed “Backwards Beauty and Beau” pageant. A drag pageant. Which was photographed and included in the last yearbook. The cognitive dissonance on the part of school authorities is dazzling, but Ceara and her mother, Valerie Rodriguez, have accepted the offer of representation from the ACLU in hopes of getting some justice, or at least answers to her questions in title of this post.