‘I would hope that any pupil could come to me and say, 'This is who we are, this is how we wish to express ourselves.’
London: A leading privately-run boarding school in the UK will allow boys who wish to wear a skirt to make it a uniform choice.
Uppingham School at Rutland in the East Midlands region of England already uses gender-neutral terms like “pupils” rather than girls and boys and now wants to take a sympathetic approach to its pupils who identify with a gender they were not born with.
“I would hope that any pupil could come to me and say, “This is who we are, this is how we wish to express ourselves. We want to wear these clothes’, and we would probably allow that,” Richard Maloney, the headmaster of the school, told The Sunday Times’.
Maloney was reacting to British television doctor Christian Jessen, who studied at Uppingham boarding school from the age of seven, saying that he might have opted to wear a skirt at school if he had been given the choice.
“I probably would have worn a skirt to shock. I never toed the line, I was always different,” said Jessen, the star of a TV show ‘Embarrassing Bodies’.
He said that schools should consider introducing “gender-neutral” uniforms.
Although many leading private schools in the UK, including Highgate in north London, have introduced gender-neutral uniforms, Uppingham, founded in 1584, still has separate uniforms for boys and girls.
Jessen, who is a gay, spent three years at Uppingham when it was a boys-only boarding school.
The school now fully co-educational, with girls required to wear grey skirts and white shirts, while boys wear charcoal trousers and white shirts.
While girls wear a red sweater, boys have black and both wear black blazers.
The television doctor believes that being able to identify as “gender-neutral” could help young people who might be exploring their sexuality or gender at that age.