Transgender Student Removed from Yearbook, May Not Get to Go to Graduation

Update: Kami Pham will beallowedto walk in her high school graduation wearing a wig, makeup, and heels, and her photo will be published in the yearbook. Thanks to everyone who signed the Care2 petition and stood up for Kami!

A high school principal in Shreveport, Louisiana is openly discriminating against a transgender student. Not only did Principal Jeff Roberts pull Kami Pham’s senior portraits from the school yearbook, he’s also threatening to not let her walk in her graduation ceremony if she does not dress in a way that corresponds with the sex designation on her birth certificate.

Two weeks before the Southwood High School yearbook went to print, Roberts decided to yank Pham’s photos because they show her wearing a wig and “feminine attire” in supposed violation of the school dress code.

However, ThinkProgress got its hands on the school’s handbook and found that Pham’s wardrobe is at odds with no part of the dress code, which forbids things like bare midriffs and backs, tube tops, short skirts and clothing with holes.

In fact, Pham’s outfit, a standard pink polo and blue jeans, very much fits the “modest [and] tasteful” standards outlined in the dress code. Additionally, the principal’s argument that Pham needs to wear clothing that matches her birth certificate is not supported by the dress code policy he cites.

“If I wore that same outfit, there would be no problem, no one would say anything,” said Tatjana Cotton, a friend of Pham. “So why treat Kami any different just because of what her birth certificate says?”

The school photographer and staff had Pham’s photos for month, allowing plenty of time for a school official to alert her to any potential problems. To ban the pictures last minute was a way to exclude her from the yearbook without an opportunity to rectify the situation even if, in reality, there was nothing that needed to be rectified.

The principal’s actions plainly read as transphobic and punitive rather than practical or even necessary. And in an era when schools are still actively banning students from entering restrooms that they identify with, it is sadly hardly shocking that Pham would be discriminated against in this way.

What’s more troubling is Roberts’s ongoing threat to ban Pham, a National Honor Society student, from participating in her own graduation if she attempts to wear a wig, makeup or high heels to the ceremony. He has no right or authority to police her gender identity and expression.

Take Action

While it’s presumably too late given the publication schedule to insert Pham back into her yearbook, she certainly doesn’t deserve to have her graduation experience tarnished after four years of hard work. Sign the Care2 petition telling her principal to do the right thing and allow Pham to walk with her peers no matter how she chooses to accessorize her cap and gown!

Photo Credit: KTBS screen cap

57 comments

Marie W
Marie W1 months ago

Thank you.

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Daniel N
Past Member 6 months ago

Signed. Thank you.

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Sabrina D
Past Member 7 months ago

Signed.

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DAVID fleming
Dave f7 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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John W
John W7 months ago

TYFST

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R7 months ago

Thank you for posting.

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One Heart i
One Heart inc7 months ago

Thanks!

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S M
S M7 months ago

The headmistress may be a bigot and it should not be encouraged for either sex to transgender before adulthood, but it not her place to prevent anyone from following a harmless tradition of the school regime.

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Amanda M
Amanda M7 months ago

Another victory for genuine equality! Congrats to Kami, both for graduating as an honor student and for winning the battle against willfully ignorant bigots. SHE earned her diploma and deserves to walk with pride!

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Rita Odessa
Rita Delfing7 months ago

I'm glad she's able to participate in all activities, seriously don't trans people face enough challenges, who cares, not hurting anyone, why do people discriminate because of their own beliefs, just so friggen annoying already.

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