Target: La Feria High School Principal Robert Munoz
Goal: Reverse discriminatory decision to ban transgender student Jeydon Loredo’s senior photo from his school’s yearbook.
Transgender senior Jeydon Loredo looked dashing when he turned up in a tuxedo to take his formal senior photo, trying like every other senior to make the best last impression possible for the school yearbook. For the formal shots, female students wear blouses or drapes, and male students wear tuxedos. Jeydon asked the photographer if it would be okay if he wore the tuxedo, and she was prepared to take the photo but suggested he ask the instructor in charge, who took the question to the principal, who refused to allow it. The photographer offered to shoot the formal pictures anyway, but unknown to Jeydon, school officials told the photography studio not to send the formal proofs to the Loredo family, despite the fact that they had already paid for the shots.
Jeydon told the Huffington Post, “I was really upset. I want to be in the yearbook, I don’t want to be forgotten a few years down the road.” That night began a series of phone calls between Jeydon’s frustrated mother Stella, the school principal Robert Munoz, and the district superintendent, but the district remained unmoved. The superintendent told her the matter would be resolved if her son, who was born female but identifies as male, wore a blouse or drape for a retake – a decision that shows a refusal to move beyond the heteronormative gender binary. “He said that it was going against ‘community standards,'” Stella Loredo commented.
This injustice caught the eye of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), who wrote a letter of guidance to the district urging them to reverse their decision to ban Jeydon’s senior photo from the yearbook. Representatives from HRC and SPLC appeared with Jeydon and Stella at a recent public school board meeting to protest the discriminatory treatment of a model student. Thus far the board has taken no action.
By signing this petition, you are standing with Jeydon and other transgender individuals who have suffered as a result of discriminatory decisions. You are demanding that the school district correct this injustice by printing Jeydon’s formal senior photo in the yearbook and issuing an apology to him and his mother. As HRC President Chad Griffin said, “It is unconscionable that the school district is going out of its way to single out Jeydon because he’s transgender. This appalling and senseless behavior must not be tolerated.”
Dear Principal Munoz,
I am highly disappointed by your recent decision to deny Jeydon Loredo his rightful place among the senior formal photos in the yearbook. This decision is highly destructive to the identity of Jeydon and other LGTB youth who feel they must conceal their authentic selves in order to comply with outdated social norms. This kind of discrimination is not acceptable in American schools.
I urge you, therefore, to reverse your decision and allow Jeydon’s formal photo to be printed in the yearbook along with those of his peers. I urge you also to issue an apology to Jeydon Loredo for the discrimination inherent in your decision, and to allow all students to dress according to their gender identity in the future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: anemoneprojectors via Flickr