(Hat tip to Womanist Musings.)
Maye showed up one day at his Niagara Falls high school in red stilettos. Not even one period into the school day, the teachers ordered him to take his high heels off. Maye refused, saying that there were many girls in heels who didn’t have to take them off, until he was threatened with suspension.
The school claims that it is non-discriminatory; according to the administration, stilettos make it difficult to escape the building in the event of a fire. However, girls regularly wear stilettos and other heels and are almost never made to take them off; Maye reports that they said his heels were “a distraction.”
Frankly, I think this story is a sign that our time is coming. The administration felt the need to claim they weren’t being discriminatory against boys in heels– as paper-thin and laughable as their defense was. And twenty supporters gathered outside the school with signs to protest that, dammit, guys should be allowed to wear heels in any circumstance in which women can wear heels. As long as they aren’t hurting anyone else, what do you care?
The one aspect I find dispiriting about this story is that Maye is openly gay. I hope that gay men like Maye can serve as the first line of the fight, and once gay men are allowed to wear heels so can straight and bi men. However, part of me worries that we’re making gay men the token men allowed to violate gender norms, and that a straight man in heels would still experience bullying and mockery, not the outpouring of support Maye has.
Nevertheless, this story gives me hope. Maye is brave and I hope he continues to stand up for the rights of everyone to dress as they like without punishment or recrimination.