Every school and university that has strict dress codes, take note! Tarlac State University allowed its transgender students to receive their diplomas while wearing dresses and barongs.
This decision after TSU received criticism from six of its transgender students who were barred from wearing clothes that reflect their gender. “Mismong president ng school po namin ang nagbabawal kasi daw po may standard na sinusunod for all state universities. Eh kung may sinusunod po bakit in other state Us eh allowed po like PSU (Pangasinan State University)?” (The school president disallowed this because there is supposedly a standard for all state universities. But if there is such a rule, why do other state Us allow this, like PSU?) Ivern Arcache told ABS-CBN News last week. She’s also the grand winner of Queen of the Philippines 2019.
According to TSU’s memo, students who don’t adhere to the proper dress code would not be allowed to join the graduation processional.
But on the eve of Ivern’s graduation, the school management told her and other transgender students they could wear dresses to their graduation. But they should still wear “lady barongs” during the processional and while getting their diplomas. Ivern and some of her batchmates followed this rule, and quickly changed into their dresses when they went down the stage.
One transwoman, Emmanuel Ferrer, was reportedly barred from joining the graduation march after choosing to wear a dress. But she was later allowed to go up the stage and get her diploma in a dress.
“Sana next year wala nang maging problema at wala na sa amin ang makaranas pa ng naranasan namin,” (I hope that other transgender students graduating next year will not face the same situation that we went through) Ivern said.
We do hope schools and universities become sensitive of their students’ gender identity and don’t impose sexist dress codes onto them. It’s the same with not allowing male students to wear makeup. Let people be themselves and don’t oppress their self-expression and identities!