GSA Responds to Ban on Cross Dressing on Dress-up Day

GSA Responds to Ban on Cross Dressing on Dress-up Day

Sarah Maude-Griffin '15, Contibuting Writer

Halloween is a time for fun, candies and scary costumes, and who wouldn’t want to celebrate that during the actual day? This year, Halloween subsequently fell on a Monday. On Thursday October 27th, during an announcement stating the rules for costumes on the up coming Monday, the main rules that were addressed were no masks, and no cross-dressing. This part of the announcement sparked discussion in Blake’s GSA, and duly so.

By holding the vague rule of “No cross-dressing” on Halloween, we put people into gender boxes. Although the intent of the rule is to prevent people from appropriating the identity of another person/culture with the intentions of mocking, because it is demeaning; the impact of the message “No cross-dressing” implies that cross-dressing is a “costume” that it is essentially humorous, and the assumption that there is a dominant group, men, who dress as the implied subordinate group, women. This assumption can be harmful to women because of the objectification it causes and it’s demeaning subtext. This assumption, which was implied perhaps unintentionally in the announcement, completely disregards the experience of many who bend gender on a daily basis and for whom “cross-dressing” is not just a costume but something that upkeeps the identity they feel most comfortable in.

The idea of “cross-dressing” is based on a strict gender binary, however many do not easily “fit” into one or the other box of male and female.  Though the majority of people do identify as either male or female, there is a growing number of people who rebel against the black and white ideas of gender that society has created, embracing the idea of there being different extents of these two basic genders. Also, during Halloween many choose dress as animals, which technically is also cross-dressing, but is allowed. Restrictions on gender cross-dressed costumes yet allowing that of animal costumes is hypocritical.

As a school that stands for acceptance, this rule of no cross-dressing needs to be clear on it’s intentions. The rule is necessary in the case of a person mocking the idea of dressing as a boy or girl, and or wearing a costume that exaggerates certain parts of the opposite sexes body, which would create objectification of either gender, that creates a prejudice against those who choose to cross-dress in order to express their personal identity. If this rule is to come back next Halloween, the announcement should be more planned out and explained, rather than a quick shout out saying “no cross-dressing, thanks”. The idea of this article is not to bash those who announced the rules or to be upset over what may seem as a “little” thing, but to express how it was offensive to some and how it could be handled in the future. If we are to be an accepting community, it is necessary to create a safe environment for those of all identities, and creating the image that some of these identities are “costumes” is unquestionably counterproductive.