11/15/2013

Texas school board relents, transgender teen will appear in yearbook wearing a tuxedo

AP / J Michael Short

After the SPLC took action to protect a transgender teen’s rights, the La Feria Independent School District in Texas has agreed to allow his tuxedo photo to appear in the yearbook along with the other students in his class.

The decision came two days after the SPLC demanded the school district allow Jeydon Loredo, a transgender student and senior at La Feria High School, to appear in his high school yearbook wearing a tuxedo or risk a federal lawsuit against the school district. Before today's decision, Jeydon had been told the photo would not appear in the yearbook due to “community standards.”

“We are very pleased that the school district has recognized Jeydon for who he is – and treated him with the respect he deserves,” said Alesdair Ittelson, an SPLC staff attorney. “This is a signal to other school districts that transgender students should be included as important members of their communities rather than ostracized and subjected to discrimination. We applaud Jeydon’s courage in standing up for his rights.”

Attorneys for the school district agreed to provide written confirmation that Jeydon’s tuxedo photo will appear in the yearbook along with the other students in his class. The district also agreed to follow its own corrective policies for cases of gender discrimination and provide training for those involved, along with a comprehensive education program for the school community. The district will also expressly include gender expression in its ant-discrimination policies.

Before this week's demand, the SPLC and the Human Rights Campaign offered a guidance letter in an attempt to address this situation.