Sydney High School Removes Gender Labels From Uniforms
Sydney High School Removes Gender Labels From Uniforms

Students and parents at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts are welcoming the gender-neutral policy change.

Students at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts in Sydney’s inner west have successfully lobbied to change the school’s dress code requirements to allow students of any gender to choose freely between uniforms.

Implemented last week, the new uniform policy abandons the ‘boys’ and girls’ labels that previously categorised the school uniforms.

Jo Dwyer, a year 11 student, was a driving force in the change. He said, “Our aim was to remove the un-inclusive gender labels from the school uniform, and make it so that anyone could wear any aspect of the uniform without having to go through a long and difficult process.”

He added, “Before the changes were implemented, students had to go through the school with parental permission and notes from psychologists before they were allowed to wear the cross gender uniform, and that wasn’t really a possibility for some students whose parents aren’t supportive of their gender identity.”

Safe Schools Coalition Australia, a well known LGBTI advocacy group, stated that all schools need to consider adopting an “inclusive uniform policy.” The statement read, “Provisions could be considered by the school for the student to wear elements of the uniform they feel most comfortable with.”

One parent of a student at the Newtown high school, Maya Saric, said she has no issue with the change in policy. She said, “If children are really struggling with that issue, then they shouldn’t be… forced into pigeonholes by the school. They’re facing enough turmoil and change and crisis of their own. It’s not really relevant what colour trousers they’re wearing, and whether they’re wearing a skirt or shorts.”

Tony Ryan, another parent, said, “Change to the uniform policy means that kids who feel that they don’t fit into a particular category feel safe.”