Friday, February 9, 2018

Three thoughts on Chaffey High School's #CrossDressGate #sayyestocrossdress

So Chaffey High School's Powder Puff football game is tonight, where the girls don football uniforms and play flag football, and the boys don dresses and wigs and cheer the girls on.

Well, that's what used to happen - until this year.

The decision to ban cross-dressing was made after it was brought to the principal’s attention that it was considered offensive, said Mat Holton, superintendent of Chaffey Joint Union High School District.

“Some felt the activity was hurtful and offensive to some students,” he said.

Chaffey’s Principal, George Matamala, met with members of the all-boys pep squad and told them to change their costumes, Holton said.

The quote above is from a Liset Marquez article on the unpleasantness. Marquez also noted that a #sayyestocrossdress hashtag is being adopted. I couldn't find use of the hashtag, but I subsequently learned that the hashtag is primarily being used on Snapchat. I'm not on Snapchat. (Get off my lawn.)

As someone who has hosted four female foreign exchange Chaffey students over the years (two of whom have been powder puffers), I have a few thoughts.

FIRST, tradition in and of itself is not a defense. Some people have argued that the boys should be able to continue to wear dresses because of "tradition." However, if we continued all traditions, schools in Ontario would be segregated, renters wouldn't be allowed to vote, and Chaffey students would have to walk five miles to school every day. (In the snow.)

SECOND, as far as we know, no one has actually been harmed by the pep squad's fashion choices. Proponents of the ban talk about the POTENTIAL for harm, but there has not been any known ACTUAL harm. (I'll grant, however, that sometimes harm is not revealed until decades later, as the whole sexual misconduct thingie demonstrates.)

THIRD, consistency is important.

Toward the end of Liset Marquez's article, the following quote appears.

...the school’s administration believes that anything that might be hurtful to a student takes the precedent.


So they can ban boys cheering in skirts, yet they can’t ban homework over the weekend

Before making such a broad statement, it might be wise to consider why the powder puff game takes place in the first place.


And since Chaffey is part of a high school district (and not a standalone high school), there's nothing stopping the district from fielding girls' football teams that could play against each other. Alta Loma could play Chaffey, Los Osos could play Ontario, and so forth.

(I'd insert an Upland kilt joke here, but I won't.)

So, when will Chaffey High School eliminate the boys' football program? Or is it only being retained because of a sexist "tradition"?

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