This year, Miramonte has opted against having the annual Boys vs. Girls spirit themed rally out of respect for the community of students that identify themselves as transgender, or “gender neutral.”
Across the nation high schools have been making huge strides, especially over the past decade, towards the acceptance of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning and Allies (or LGBTQQA) community. There are now over 5,000 Gay-Straight Alliance Clubs in American high schools registered with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
There is no denying that these organizations offer much needed support to teenagers. The mission of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network is “to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.”
However, abolishing the annual Boys vs. Girls Rally altogether is drastic, unnecessary and simply not an effective step towards creating better understanding between the different gender-related groups within Miramonte’s high school population. The rally encourages the boys and girls from all four grades to wear blue and pink t-shirts, respectively. These t-shirts are sold earlier in the week by the Leadership class. The boys and girls compete against each other in a series of fun activities in the center of the gym as the two opposing sides on either end of the gym look on and cheer in encouragement. This rally has been going on for several years and generates not only a friendly rivalry between the two genders but also provides a rare opportunity for the usually separate lower and upper classmen to come together in a shared cause.
Banning the traditional Boys vs. Girls Rally only serves to limit the rights of all students and dilutes the message a free thinking school wants to promote—that everyone should be comfortable to assert their individual proclivities in whichever way they so choose.
By not having the rally, Miramonte is only avoiding the transgender community instead of addressing or including them. If the rally were to continue, transgender individuals could choose to participate on either side or not at all, like many other Miramonte students already do.
There have been great advances in transgender awareness in regards to law and policy as it relates to the school setting. However, at present there are only three states have laws that formally ban discrimination and harassment of transgender students in schools: Minnesota, New Jersey and California. While this number is unacceptably low, federal law has imposed strict regulations on school systems that don’t protect lesbian, gay and bisexual students from harassment. For example, in the 1996 case Nabozny v. Podlesny, the Seventh Circuit in the United States Court of Appeals ruled that schools must provide equal protection against discrimination for all students. This ruling, among many others, proves that positive and meaningful strides are being made in the direction of equality for all students.
While everyone should be in support of the rights of all students, forbidding a fun and harmless activity made to bring the student body together is not a valuable course of action.
The Editorial Board Voted 8-1
against the ban of the Boys vs. Girls Rally