Miss. School’s ‘Girls Can’t Wear Tuxedos Policy’ Changing


The ACLU of Mississippi has reached an agreement with Copiah County School District following a legal dispute over student Ceara Sturgis’ photo being excluded from the senior portrait section of the yearbook simply because she posed in a tuxedo.

The district has now agreed on a new gender neutral policy that will require all students to wear a cap and gown rather than requiring boys to wear tuxedos and girls to wear drapes.

In addition to this, Sturgis’ photo will now feature in the class composite picture hanging in the school library and the school will also amend its anti-discrimination policy reaffirm its commitment to following the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

From the ACLU press release:

“I am thrilled that my photo will join my classmates on the wall of our school library,” said Sturgis. “It’s important that nobody else will be forced to wear something that doesn’t reflect who they are.”


“Hopefully no other students will be excluded from this important rite of passage simply for expressing themselves,” said Bear Atwood, legal director of the ACLU of Mississippi. “Copiah County School District has done the right thing by changing the yearbook policy so no students have to feel as if they’re out of place.”

Sturgis, who was an honor student at Wesson Attendance Center in the district, is openly lesbian and has an established history of wearing what has traditionally been classed as “male” attire. Until the portrait incident she had received no difficulty surrounding her gender expression at school.

However, when it came to have her formal senior portrait taken for the 2009-2010 yearbook and Sturgis, then 17, opted to wear a tuxedo rather than a drape that would give the appearance of wearing a dress of blouse, the school refused to publish her photo and name in the senior portrait section of the year book.

“We’re glad that a resolution has been reached and that Ceara’s photo will be included in the school library along with the photos of the rest of her classmates,” said Joshua Block, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “All students deserve to attend school in a setting that lets them be comfortable being themselves.”

Related Posts:

A Tale of Two Proms
A Thank You From Constance McMillen
We’d Rather Cancel the Prom Than Let a Girl Bring a Female Date

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to stevendepolo.


Shannon P.
Shannon P.6 years ago

So what, we are here, and here to stay, stop the violence towards people who r not just like u.

Chad A.
Chad A6 years ago

Can't we just let people identify themselves as they choose and celebrate the individuality?

tiffany t.
tiffany t6 years ago

shouldn't even be an issue

Carole R.
Carole R6 years ago

Thanks for the information.

Michael M.
Michael M6 years ago

Holy Crap! WTF is this? Mississippi coming into the 21st Century?
Did Hell freeze over or something? I can't check since I don't believe in a Hell :p

Matilda H.
Past Member 6 years ago


Joan S.
Joan S6 years ago

It's like baby steps

Lepidopter Phoenyx

I have never understood the notion that, with the possible exeption of a bra, certain clothes are for onesex or the other. Clothing is clothing, and I don't care if a woman wears a tux or guy wears a mini-skirt.

Drusilla P.
Drusilla P6 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Mrs Shakespeare
Mrs Shakespeare6 years ago

So what if she was a straight girl-like 100% straight and even pregnant!-wanted to wear a tux?
Just wondering :/