Transmissions: School belles

By |2018-01-15T18:23:55-05:00April 12th, 2009|Uncategorized|

By Gwendolyn Ann Smith

A nationwide scandal has rocked the little town of Spurger, Texas. For many years, a spirit event allowed for a certain level of cross-gender experience. Called “TWIRP day” – an acronym for “The Woman Is Requested to Pay” – students could cross the gender divide, and experience life from the other side.
All this ground to a halt after a parent – with the backing of a conservative Christian legal institute – made an issue of this tradition. She views it not as a harmless pasttime that the school hosts, but as part of a broader agenda: “TWIRP Day” is the “gateway drug” to a life of homosexuality, gender confusion, and probably nothing short of Armageddon. To quote this parent, “It might be fun today to dress up like a little girl – kids think it’s cute and things like that. And you start playing around with it and, like drugs, you do a little here and there – eventually it gets you.”
For her trouble, the school district has canned “TWIRP Day,” replacing it with “Camo Day.” Yes, now rather than the horror of cross-dressing, military drag is all the rage for any gender.
Spurger, Texas is not alone. Schools around the country have a long history of similar events. Even the high school I attended had a day where cross gender presentation was commonplace. For those of us at El Monte High School, it was the totally non-PC “Slave Day,” where the girls could purchase the boys. What this boiled down to is a lot of cross-dressing on campus, with the boys dolled up in cheerleader uniforms, trashy dresses, French maid outfits, and so on.
I do not know if my high school still has a “Slave Day.” I know that the Sperger School District has ended “TWRIP Day,” and I find it intriguing that just a month or two prior to this occurrence in Texas, two other schools faced similar issues.
At Carrier Mills-Stonefort Elementary School in Illinois, the Illinois Family Institute helped lead this year’s charge against their “Opposite Sex Day,” while officials at Hastings High School in New York turned “Cross-Dressing Day” into “New York Pride Day.” No, it wasn’t *that* kind of Pride Day, but rather one to show your pride in being a New Yorker.
I find it interesting that there are multiple examples of schools being challenged over these events. I doubt this was entirely coincidence.
Instead, what I think we’re seeing is the roots of an attempt to shut out legitimate education in the schools on gender identity and sexual orientation.
Like any good coup, it starts simply enough. The schools can be convinced to get rid of an event like “TWIRP Day,” given the outcry about the event. It is simply better to ditch the event rather than face the controversy.
What happens to the next “Day of Silence” or “Transgender Day of Remembrance” that’s organized on those campuses? Could the same groups come in and use the folding of “cross-dressing days” as a way to declare that these events should be squelched? How about the day a student on that campus comes out as gay or lesbian – or begins a gender transition?
I’m not trying to say that there is a conspiracy afoot, but I do think such a jump in logic could easily be made, and a sympathetic school administration could soon find themselves in a very difficult place, indeed. Slippery slopes do exist in reality.
I cracked open my high school yearbook, and looked over the two pages of photos from “Slave Day.” In those shots, I recognized two members of the student body who were gay, but closeted at the time – but seventeen or so others who didn’t give up on their male attire based on that one day.
I only know of one member of my class who went through a gender transition, and that’s me. I made myself scarce on “Slave Day.” I was deep in my own closet, and felt that any possible chance of me being forced into women’s clothes might, inexplicably, cause everyone around me to know I was transgender.
A silly notion? Perhaps, but only as silly as referring to “TWIRP day” as a “gateway drug.”

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.