Over the summer, Californian high school student Taylor Victor was forced to leave school for wearing a shirt that said, “Nobody Knows I’m a Lesbian.”
She was caught off-guard when she was sent home by the vice principal who said the shirt violated dress code. “I was shocked, and then I was definitely confused, because I had read all of the dress code in the handbook, and the rule that he told me my shirt violated didn’t exist,” said Victor. She thought the t-shirt was funny because everyone at school was already aware of her sexuality.
“He told me directly that I couldn’t display my sexuality on a T-shirt. Those were his exact words. And those exact words do not exist in the dress code.”
She continued: “I ended up going home and looking at the dress code again to see if I missed anything. And I definitely didn’t miss anything, and that rule didn’t exist and that made me even more angry.”
Her classmates were the ones who convinced her that this was not fair and helped her decide to escalate the issue.
“Most of the kids were really supportive, they’re kind of the ones that gave me the motivation to fight it,” she says. “I got the referral to the ACLU from a friend, and I went ahead and called them because [the vice principal] told me ‘You can’t wear your shirt and that’s final.’ So I was never really given a direct reason why, and my shirt didn’t actually break any of the rules of the dress code. I was kind of like, ‘You think it’s going to be final, but it’s not going to be final.’”
Her parents and the ACLU helped Taylor file a complaint against the school district.
On February 16th, the school district settled and agreed to revise the dress code to clarify that students can wear clothes that express their identities.
“I was very hopeful the whole time that we were going to win, so when they announced that we had, I was very excited and very happy,” Victor says. “I definitely feel more comfortable at school now.”