Just imagining a boy coming to school wearing a skirt, makes us laugh so hard. But, that’s what turned out to be a reality in a privately-run boarding school in the UK. One of the country’s leading boarding schools is ready to allow boys who wish to wear a skirt to make it a uniform choice.
The boarding school at Rutland in the East Midlands region of England already uses gender-neutral terms like ‘pupils’ rather than girls and boys and now wants to take a sympathetic approach to its pupils who identify with a gender they were not born with.
Richard Maloney, the headmaster of the Uppingham School in Rutland, whose alumni include Stephen Fry and celebrity chef Rick Stein, said any boy who said he wanted to wear a skirt would find a sympathetic ear.
Maloney, who joined the Uppingham in September 2016 was quoted by The Sunday Times as saying, “I would hope that any pupil could come to me and say, ‘This is who we are, this is how we wish to express ourselves. We want to wear these clothes’, and we would probably allow that,” Richard Maloney, the headmaster of the school.
The headmaster told The Sunday Times that last year during inclusivity week, one boy had decided to wear a long skirt for a few days to make a point.
It comes as television doctor Christian Jessen, who studied at Uppingham boarding school from the age of seven, said he would “probably” have worn a skirt for its shock value had he been permitted to do so. Jessen, the star of the TV show ‘Embarrasing Bodies’ said, “I probably would have worn a skirt to shock. I never toed the line, I was always different.’’He also said that schools should consider introducing “gender-neutral” uniforms.
Uppingham is definitely not the first school to have introduced ‘gender-neutral’ uniforms. Many leading private schools in the UK, including Highgate in north London, have introduced this. Founded in 1584, Uppingham still has separate uniforms for boys and girls.
The boarding school is now fully co-educational, with girls required to wear grey skirts and white shirts, while boys wear charcoal trousers and white shirts. While girls wear a red sweater, boys have black and both wear black blazers.
One major reason quoted by the Jessen, the television doctor is that he believes that being able to identify as “gender-neutral” could help young people who might be exploring their sexuality or gender at that age.