Bigotry On Display: Mississippi Students Protest Transgender Classmate

In her senior year at South Panola High School in Batesville, Mississippi, one transgender student decided it was time for her to fully realize her gender identity and began dressing as a girl. The ACLU applauded the school’s interim superintendent, Mike Foster, for supporting the student and recognizing her as the gender with which she identifies. But one group of students, clearly uninformed about what it means to be transgender, decided that she was getting “special treatment” — permission to violate the dress code — and held a protest in which they actually violated the dress code themselves by simply wearing athletic clothing:

One of the students involved in the protest says it all boils down to rules.

“Told us, ‘Everybody that has on jogging pants, follow us.’ So we went to the band hall,” said senior Logan Roberson. He says all of the students who violated the dress code were forced to change their clothes.

Roberson and parents say if Leah can dress in female clothing when she is still technically a man, they should be able to wear sweat pants and gym shorts.

“That to me is a double standard. What one rule goes for one, one rule goes for all,” said parent Allen Jones. […]

“How distracting is it for you walk down the hallway and see a boy you’ve known since kindergarten, now a girl, wearing high heels walking, that’s distracting to you,” continued Roberson.

Roberson did not clarify why exactly the friend had become a distraction, but it’s clear that these parents and students do not understand the basics of gender identity. The student is not “still technically a man,” nor is she violating the dress code at all.


A Facebook group called “Mississippians Support Leah” has formed to support the student, who wishes to remain anonymous. Another Facebook group known as “Prayers for South Panola School District,” now hidden, had the opposite intent, though a parody page now mocks that group for hiding their intolerance.

There is still incredible work to be done to support transgender people, and it increasingly seems that schools are where that struggle is playing out.