School uniforms carry overt messages about conformity, compliance and lack of individuality. But they also carry insidious messages about gender.
When schools define uniforms as being for “boys” or being for ‘girls”, they are perpetuating an anachronistic view of gender as binary. In theory, at least, schools exist to teach children about the world. Why teach them a lesson that is antiquated, incongruous with human experience, and perpetuates discrimination against individuals whose gender is non-binary?
What possible harm could come from eliminating gender from school uniforms? All styles of uniform could be available for all students, so if a student identifying as female wanted to wear a skirt, that would be fine. But if a student not identifying as female wanted to wear a skirt, that would be equally fine. No one’s choice would be restricted in any way, and the schools, even if they continue to perpetuate the conformity engendered by school uniforms in the first place, will at least be teaching a lesson about equality and inclusion.