SLE Choir Has Added Gender-Neutral Unifroms


Katja Klonowski, Staff Writer

Choir this year is taking a new step and changing the traditional clothing choices for their performances. Director Mr. Middaugh, was able to approve a third uniform option for students in the 2021-2022 school year. Instead of the traditional dresses for females and tuxes for males, the third option is gender-neutral. 

Mr. Middaugh never thought about changing the conventional outfits until a few choir students spoke up about it, “A few years ago we only had dresses and tuxes and I didn’t have anyone who asked to switch. We had some kids that I might have thought wanted to wear a dress or thought would wear a dress, ask to wear a tux and I was hesitant at first because, you know, there are rules to follow.” 

Mr. Middaugh reflected on his students’ reactions and it dawned on him that the clothing a person chooses to wear is about gender expression. 

“After a lot of thought,” Mr. Middaugh says, “Especially at the end of last year and over the summer, I did a questionnaire and sent it out, and I talked to parents and students about it – and a little bit with the administration – and we decided we were going to buy the third option and it would be something that was not strongly male and not strongly female, but gender neutral.”

The gender-neutral outfits provide students with an additional choice so they can feel comfortable.

Andrea Valenzuela, a student who opted for the new option explained it as, “As someone that is more comfortable with gender-neutral options myself, I actually opted for the gender-neutral option, and I think it’s a really good way to include everyone and make them feel more welcome in choir … it allows more individuality, also it allows you to be more yourself, because if you don’t feel as masculine or as feminine as you ‘should” feel then it allows for people to have an expressive option.”

Mr. Middaugh didn’t want his students feeling constricted to clothes that would make his students feel uncomfortable, he was able to provide this option, and his students will now be able to express their individuality in any way they choose.