by Lisa Fogarty
What century is it again? A teen girl was purposely left out of her high school yearbook because she wore a tuxedo in her senior portrait. We're used to hearing stories like these come out of small rural towns, so you'll probably never guess where this one took place: Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in freaking San Francisco. If something like this can happen in what is, arguably, the most liberal city in the country, what hope is there for teens who identify as gay, lesbian, or transgendered?
When Jessica Urbina sat for her senior portrait last year, she made a conscious decision to wear the outfit offered to boys: a tuxedo jacket and black bow-tie. What's the big deal, you may be asking yourself. Angelina Jolie has rocked a tux -- as have countless other female celebs from Princess Diana to Kate Moss. What difference does it really make?
Well, it's a bigger deal than you may think. Jessica attends a Catholic high school, and according to school officials, the Archdiocese of San Francisco has a policy that requires girls to wear the black off-the-shoulder drape. Jessica violated the rules and her punishment was that she was omitted from the school yearbook, which sounds a little cruel to me.
I'm usually all for following the rules of an institution in which you've chosen to participate. No one (well, except maybe the girl's parents) is forcing this teen to attend this school, so why shouldn't she be expected to comply with the admin's regulations?
But in this case, the penalty for wearing a tux -- for not identifying as a "typical" female grad -- is harsh. Jessica is essentially being ostracized for trying to find and be herself. As someone who was raised Catholic, this very non-Christian way of thinking and treating others is exactly what turned me off to the church.
There is some happy news here. Jessica's classmates showed their support for the teen by wearing ties to school in protest of their decision to leave her out of the yearbook. It's nice to know today's teens are more open to letting their peers be themselves -- even if their adult role models are not.
Do you think it was okay for this teen to be left out of her school yearbook because she wore a tuxedo in her photo?