Newsflash: Tuxedo-Wearing Girl Barred from Yearbook; ACLU Sues

A Mississippi school cut student Ceara Sturgis out of her yearbook’s “senior photos” section because she wore a tuxedo, rather than a dress, in her photo. Now, the ACLU is suing the school for gender discrimination.

According to the ACLU’s Blog of Rights:

Ceara, who’s worn boys’ clothes all her life, tried posing with the drape [designed to look like a dress], but felt extremely uncomfortable and had her mother request that she wear the tuxedo instead. The yearbook photographer permitted Ceara to wear a tux. But after the portrait was taken, the principal told Ceara that he would not allow the photo to be published. Despite efforts to resolve the issue by Ceara’s mother and the ACLU, Ceara received her yearbook without her portrait, or even her name, included in the senior class portrait section.

Apparently, Sturgis was pictured in other sections of the yearbook, but the situation still reeks of homophobia.

The ACLU’s lawsuit states that Sturgis’ rights “were violated under Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex and sex stereotypes, and the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.”

This comes just months after the ACLU sued a different Mississippi school for canceling its prom rather than allowing Constance McMillen to attend with her girlfriend.

To help Sturgis and students like her, join the Facebook support page and send a message to your legislators urging them to sign the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

Above: Sturgis’ senior portrait. Photo courtesy of Ceara Sturgis and the ACLU.


  1. Gonna be honest. I would be exactly the same as her. Hense why I changed schools. In the UK we have uniforms and girls classically wear skirts but one lets them wear trousers/pants. Equality and acceptance – the way forward!

  2. Thanks for the update! I had followed the early coverage of this case when I wrote a post about school policies on cross-dressing for a sociology blog:

  3. This wouldn't technically be homophobia but rather gender-non-conformity-phobia (I'm pretty sure that's not a word, but you get the idea). This is a significant point in many ways, but in particular if you're talking about equal protection. In many places homosexuals are protected but "cross-dressers" are not. It's also very important to remember that gender identity and sexual orientation are independent of each other.

  4. ray sullivan says:

    Wel where my girls went to school here in Sydney, we never had any problems like in the US.maybe because of underlying fundamentalist religious attitude.A boy in my daughters class had a sex change ,and on Mufti days the male science teacher used to dress in the girls school uniform,mind you it is a kilt.and he is gay but the best science teacher I've come across.great school.

  5. As Nina Simone sang…"everybody knows about Mississippi, goddamn."

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