A transgender high schooler in Texas says she’s been banned from school and told not to come back until she agrees to adhere to the school’s dress code for male students.
Sanae Martinez, 18, is a senior at Louise High School, in the Louise Independent School District in Wharton County, in eastern Texas, and has been a member of the cheer squad and color guard during her time at high school.
But at the start of this school year, when she transitioned and asked to be identified by the name matching her gender identity, rather than her “deadname,” school officials balked.
Martinez claimed on her Facebook page that the school’s principal, Donna Kutac, told her that she must adhere to the dress code for male students, instead of clothes matching her gender identity.
“They told me I can’t come back until I cut my hair and take out my piercings. And I do not like that because as a female, I should follow the female handbook and not the male handbook,” Martinez told Houston-area ABC affiliate KTRK. “It’s my senior year and I would love to go back to Louise ISD, but I don’t feel welcome at all.”
Martinez notes that people don’t have to agree with her gender identity, but she should still be treated with respect.
Dr. Garth Oliver, the superintendent for Louise ISD, said Martinez is accepted, but the school handbook is clear about what dress code standards students must adhere to, based on their assigned sex at birth. He reportedly told KTRK that it’s simply about following existing rules.
Martinez says she and her best friend, Alexis Mendoza, are likely to transfer to nearby El Campo High School, where she can study cosmetology, and believes her identity will be more accepted.
“They’re being really disrespectful. They know [Sanae] since [she] was in Pre-K,” Mendoza said, adding that the school was fine when Martinez came out as gay, but when she came out as trans, “everything changed.”
Regardless of whether she ultimately transfers, Martinez hopes that other trans students will stand up for their rights.
“I’m here to tell everyone, that transgender students should be allowed for their education,” she said. “It is their rightful purpose for them to go into the school and get their education. It doesn’t matter what race, gender, sexuality.”
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