Many schools in the UK have moved beyond the gender-neutral bathroom debate and are changing the policy regarding uniforms, to allow kids to wear the clothes they identify with - be it skirts or pants.
In a bid to be more sensitive to transgender children, an estimated 80 schools - including 40 elementary schools - have revised their uniform policy to allow boys to wear skirts or pinafores, and girls to wear pants.
"Everybody has the right to be themselves - that was the impetus for it," said Paula Weaver, the Head of Allens Croft School in Birmingham. "We do lots of work through literature and drama and we talk to children about the fact we have someone who was assigned male at birth who is saying 'I'm a girl.' It's about being open with them and about everyone feeling OK."
Children as young as four and five years old now have a choice to dress according to the gender they identify with. While many groups fear the move could prove "confusing" to young students, parents have largely been supportive of the change, which has not resulted in tons of boys suddenly wearing skirts. It has simply put the option out there.
For one mom, Emma Symonds, the change spells relief. Her four year-old Logan adores wearing dresses and playing with dolls. Previously Logan would throw tantrums at having to wear "male clothes." He now wears a pinafore to school.
Obviously four is young to formally label a child as transgender due only to their choice in clothing. While kids may not be able to put into words their feelings, even by four or five many readily identify with a certain gender and shouldn't be forced into being something they're not.
Having neutral uniforms is a great step in taking the pressure off kids from feeling they must strictly conform to a certain identity.
Having said that, wouldn't the obvious solution be to remove gendered uniforms entirely? A single uniform for all children. Shorts or pants depending on the season, simple.
Yes, those pleated skirts are cute. But there's no good practical reason I can see for separate uniforms (at least not here in Canada where girls suffer through the harsh elements for a good part of the school year).
One uniform. That's the true definition of gender neutral.