A transgender student in Louisiana has won the right to present as a woman in her high school yearbook and graduation ceremony.
Kami Pham, a 19-year-old senior at Southwood High School in Shreveport, was told her photo was being cut from the yearbook because she wore “feminine attire” and a wig.
Principal Jeff Roberts claimed her outfit—a buttoned-up pink polo shirt and jeans—violated the district’s dress code because it was “inconsistent” with the sex on her birth certificate.
— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) April 3, 2018
He also reportedly told Pham that if she continued to wear women’s clothing or a wig, she would be barred from walking at graduation.
“[Roberts made me] highly upset,” Pham told the Shreveport Times. “What killed me was, when my principal had told me that I should not dress [like this] after hours. I don’t dress inappropriately… When he said that, I felt like I was a prostitute. That was very, very rude.”
But Pham’s friends pointed out that the school’s dress code doesn’t contain any language about sex-specific presentation.
“If I wore that same outfit, there would be no problem, no one would say anything,” Tatjana Cotton told KTBS-3. “So why treat Kami any different just because of what her birth certificate says?”
Cotton and other allies created a Change.org petition in support of Pham’s right to present as a woman. The petition, which received more than 4,600 signatures, worked and Roberts withdrew his objections.
“Our friends… were able to overturn this decision and allow Kami to dress her way at graduation, as well as allowing her yearbook and wall picture to be approved,” Cotton wrote in a statement dated April 3. “This is not only a big win for Kami, but for all students who express themselves in their way for years to come.”