The internet showed overwhelming support for a gay high school student in Texas, who was suspended after showing up to school wearing nail polish.
Clyde High School, near Abilene, gave senior student Trevor Wilkinson an in-school suspension (ISS) because he violated a dress code that specifically prohibited male students from wearing makeup or nail polish while attending classes.
But the 17-year-old strongly disagreed with the school policy and called it "sexist" and "discriminatory"—since the rule did not apply to female students.
The school's Principal and Vice-Principal gave Wilkinson the option to either go home and remove the nail polish, continue with virtual classes through January, or keep the polish on and remain on suspension.
Wilkinson went with the latter option of keeping his nail polish on and took his frustration over to Twitter, writing:
"Imagine your school not allowing boys to paint their nails and giving boys iss for it. and the whole administration being okay with it, homophobic and sexist? welcome to west texas."
imagine your school not allowing boys to paint their nails and giving boys iss for it. and the whole administration… https://t.co/nCN54Oc20Q— trevvvv;) (@trevvvv;)) 1606757585.0
Wilkinson started a petition on Change.org where he called the school's disciplinary action a "complete double standard because girls are allowed to paint and get their nails done."
"But freedom of expression is validation enough that the dress code and policy is not okay. I am a gay male and I'm beyond proud."
"This is unjust and not okay. Help me show that it is okay to express yourself and that the identity that society wants to normalize is not okay. I am a human. I am valid. I should not get in trouble for having my nails done."
"Sign and share this so people like me don't have to ever deal with this again. It's time for a change and that time is now. Thank you."
As of this writing, the petition has over 89k signatures towards its 150k goal.
You can watch news coverage here.
Prominent LGBTQ personalities like Queer Eye's Bobby Berk tweeted in support of the suspended teen.
Try maybe focusing on these kids education instead of their nails @clydecisd. I stand with you @trevvowilkinson… https://t.co/xjqNYujy31— Bobby Berk (@Bobby Berk) 1607207379.0
Others took issue with the school's discriminatory policy.
@trevvowilkinson Son, take them to court and sue them. You will need college money and they might as well pay for i… https://t.co/0ZlsCOOLDA— Reagan wanna be (@Reagan wanna be) 1607301242.0
@trevvowilkinson This school is who should be punished! I am so sorry that this school has chosen hate over love! U… https://t.co/c9PbCD2zOW— Shawn Perry-Caesar (@Shawn Perry-Caesar) 1607284120.0
@trevvowilkinson The same people who are screaming about their freedoms being infringed upon by mask mandates are t… https://t.co/JtzO4EGPN4— DJ 5k (@DJ 5k) 1607296744.0
@bobbyberk @clydecisd @trevvowilkinson As a teacher in a Title 1 school, I can say whole heartedly that we want our… https://t.co/FhOU4vm6l6— Megan McCann (@Megan McCann) 1607213238.0
@thehill My sons polish. Texas sucks! Let them be who they want to be. https://t.co/We38oQqBQi— 🏳️🌈 Malinda 🏳️🌈 (@🏳️🌈 Malinda 🏳️🌈) 1607225003.0
@thehill It is just a thin layer of enamel on top of a nail. These people have bigger things to worry about. I hate… https://t.co/CVcEHMiFQc— TrinityStar (@TrinityStar) 1607226197.0
@thehill Semi automatic weapons are fine but nail polish is dangerous 🙄🙄🙄🤷♀️— Tammy W.🇺🇸 🌊🌊🌊 (@Tammy W.🇺🇸 🌊🌊🌊) 1607225509.0
Clyde CISD responded to Wilkinson's concern with a statement explaining the dress code policy is revisited annually.
"The District conducts a diligent and thoughtful review of the dress code on an annual basis. That review process results in the development of a final dress code that is consistently implemented and enforced during the next school year."
"Parents and students are provided a copy of the dress code prior to the start of each new school year. Questions or concerns with the dress code are reviewed individually, and the District cannot share any information regarding a specific student."
"The District appreciates the feedback and input on this issue received from members of the community, and will take this into consideration when it conducts its annual review later this school year."
Twitter was still not having it.
@thehill Don't school officials have more important things to do, like educate kids?— Soleil Gregg (@Soleil Gregg) 1607262069.0
@thehill Administrators must have too much time on hands, reduce hours by 1/3...— D S (@D S) 1607225895.0
@TheAdvocateMag @outmagazine This is so unbelievably trivial But that's what makes it so important. 🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈— Bob Mellors (@Bob Mellors) 1607370213.0
The teen's suspension also caught the attention of community groups like Abilene Pride Alliance—who demanded the school district issue a formal apology to Wilkinson.
"I am writing to you today on behalf of the Abilene Pride Alliance, an LGBTQIA organization dedicated to the protection and advancement of all people in the LGBTQIA+ family. "
"It has come to our attention that your school district is maintaining and choosing to enforce a policy that in itself discriminates based on gender. Specifically, you have chosen to punish a male student for wearing nail polish to school."
"We are hopeful that the intent of this action was not to be directly discriminatory. But unfortunately, the outcome is that this policy and its enforcement have discriminated against this child and possibly more before him."
"It is our hope that we can work with CISD to immediately rectify this situation the student is currently in and ensure that going forward, the school district follows TASB recommendations to dissolve policies that treat students differently based on sex expression."
"We are asking for this discriminatory policy to immediately be addressed at your next school board meeting and that the child in question be released from suspension with an official apology from the School District."
"We believe that no matter your orientation, race, or gender, we are all one Big Country family. We want to move forward in cooperation in that fashion."
"However, if CISD chooses not to work toward our shared values of equality and grace, we will have no option but to defend this student and any LGBTQIA students that happen to find themselves being discriminated against."
"Discrimination and hate are not Big Country values. We are asking that you help us cooperate and put differences aside to work toward the best outcomes for Clyde ISD and its students."
In response to the positive responses on social media, the gay Texan posted a video thanking everyone for their support.
Again, thank you ALL for your support and i’m so happy that WE can all come together and make a much needed change… https://t.co/zfBCSVP8CD— trevvvv;) (@trevvvv;)) 1607271204.0
He also expressed his gratitude on Instagram.
He encouraged those who wanted to challenge gender stereotypes to express solidarity by painting their nails and sharing them with the hashtag, #TeamTrevor.
"Thank you everyone for your support. I cannot express that enough and I could not have gotten this far without you guys! I know a lot of you have called and emailed my school board - flooding their voicemails and inboxes."
"Thank you for standing alongside me to create change so that students like me can express ourselves in authentic ways in school and focus on our studies rather. As well as ending the gender norms that society has oppressed on us."
"Please continue to call and email but for those of you who want to challenge dangerous gender stereotypes you can join me in painting your nails and rocking them all over Texas and the country. Paint your nails and put #TeamTrevor !!@equalitytexas @email@example.com#TeamTrevor#Equality#NailsRock"
"Again, thank you all for your support and our voices will not go unheard."