Amid ongoing conversations about policies to allow LGBTQ+ students to embrace their identities, it seems that some schools are already stepping in a positive direction. Take the case of this young trans woman who thanked her local high school for allowing her to wear the girls’ uniform in an emotional message posted yesterday.
Online users have rallied around Sessy Maravillo, a Grade 12 student at Leyte National High School in Tacloban City, after she posted photos of herself in her school uniform — a blouse, necktie, and a skirt in maroon and white.
Maravillo said that she felt blessed and grateful for her school, which is completely supportive of LGBTQ+ students like her.
“I feel the strong and warm support of my school, especially the love of my teachers and their strong regard towards my gender. [This] gives me so much comfort and wings to prosper. I want them also to feel the same way as I feel—the acceptance, freedom,love, and above all, the respect,” she wrote.
The Grade 12 student hoped that more students like her would be allowed to wear the uniforms of their choice, or that schools would adopt gender-neutral uniforms. “Making our brothers and sisters feel safe is not enough, we should also make them comfortable,” she wrote.
“Forcing clothes on students won’t make a school better, but a uniform with reforms can. If our society wants to practice inclusivity, they must allow the freedom of choice.”
Save for a few conservative users, Maravillo’s post received mostly positive comments and has been shared over 17,000 times.
“You are beautiful! Soar higher, Sessy! Looking forward to your many achievements,” Miss Trans Global 2020 Mela Habijan wrote.
Her messages comes shortly after the Department of Education released a memo that reiterated DepEd Order 32, also known as the Gender-Responsive Basic Education Policy, which requires schools to “integrate the principles of gender equality, gender equity, gender sensitivity, non-discrimination, and human rights in the provision and governance of basic education.”
The memo appeared to be in response to a viral photo of LGBTQ+ teens who were forced to get haircuts and comply with their school’s heteronormative policies.