Fourteen-year-old Chris Martin is probably cooler than you. He wears anarchy symbol shirts to school (because fuck the crumbling system, right?). He doesn't label his sexuality (because labels are limiting anyway). And he wears makeup to school (because gender roles are outdated and oppressive social constructs).
His middle school principal isn't so cool though, and asked Martin to change his anarchy shirt and wipe off his makeup when he showed up to school one day. Now his mothers are pissed.
According to The Tampa Bay Times, the incident occurred last week Meadowlawn Middle School in St. Petersburg.
One of Martin's mothers say that Chris had asked her to help him apply some makeup before school, and she was distressed when she got a call informing her that her son was violating the dress code. Though she understood how the anarchy shirt might have been a bit too much, she thought asking her son to remove his minimal makeup was too much.
"Honestly, when Chris asked me to apply his makeup that morning, it never occurred to me that it would cause a problem," she said. "More than anything, I was happy to see him so confident in expressing himself. When he called a little later from the school to tell me that he got in trouble for the makeup and that the administration wanted him to wash it off, I was sad and then angry to hear in his voice that he had lost that self-confidence."
"While speaking with the principal, it became clear that his issue was based upon my son's gender nonconformity and not the dress code. In my opinion, the principal was not passing judgement upon my son's appearance, but rather his person."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
The Martins claim that Chris has gotten teased and physically harassed for his identity in the past, and feel that the school has done little to curb such behavior.
Now a petition is circling around the internet asking the Pinellas County School Board to stop siding with bullies and adopt policies that are more LGBTQ inclusive.
A spokeswoman for the school district told The Times that there "more to the issues," but refused to elaborate, citing students' privacy.