Do you remember your Junior Prom? I know I don’t (likely because I didn’t attend) but I can guarantee Aniya Wolf will. This assertive teen has always done things her own way and a big part of that has meant dressing in the fashion she’s most comfortable with, namely, as a boy. I was quite shocked to discover that there are some people who care deeply about proper dress codes and gender normality (okay, not shocked but disappointed). Apparently the officials at Aniya’s school, Bishop McDevitt in Harrisburg, PA fall into that category despite the fact that they’ve “tolerated” her preference for the male uniform up to this point. I have to imagine their Catholic school status has something to do with it.
It was only after having already purchased her tux for prom that she received a letter from the school telling her that, as a girl, she is expected to conform to proper expectations and wear a more traditional prom dress. After receiving the order she did what any sensible person living in a free country would do, she ignored it and went to the prom exactly has she had already planned. However, it seems the school was being serious with their ultimatum as they threatened to call the police if she didn’t leave. I’m pretty sure I know what I would have done in her situation but she opted to take the more civilized option and depart without causing a scene. It wasn’t long before her story went viral and captured the attention of creator and star of ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’, Rob McElhenney.
Through a series of tweets he offered young Aniya a part in an upcoming episode.
It looks like her school’s insult may actually work out in her favor. What bothers me most about Bishop McDevitt is their decision to put their personal preferences before the needs of their students. Aniya was dressed appropriately and in the manner she felt most comfortable with. Her actions didn’t harm any of the other students in any way and her presence wasn’t disruptive or disrespectful. Their unwillingness to support Aniya hints at a dangerous larger message: “Conform or we will exclude you, with force if necessary.” I doubt you’ll find that particular lesson in any syllabus.
For more check out this interview: