A transgender teen who skipped her Mississippi Coast high school graduation over the school’s dress code got to walk across a stage in her cap and gown after all.
The Harrison Central High graduate, identified as L.B., sued the Harrison County School District after being told shortly before graduation she would have to adhere to the boys’ graduation dress code policy.
L.B., who is 17, has identified as trans and has worn girls’ clothing and dresses to school for her entire high school career.
In an eleventh-hour decision one day before Harrison Central’s graduation, a federal judge ruled that L.B. would have to abide by the school’s dress code if she wanted to participate in the ceremony.
Judge Taylor McNeel’s decision made national headlines. He explained his ruling at length and acknowledged it would have a deep impact on L.B. and her family.
There was no dress code, however, at Point Cadet Plaza in Biloxi Saturday.
And that afternoon, L.B. wore the dress and heels she and her mother picked out and walked across the 2023 Pride Day stage. “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga played through the pavilion and the crowd went wild, emcee Catastrophe Nicole Knight told the Sun Herald.
Catastrophe, a Mississippi Coast drag queen who grew up in Hancock County, said it was important for L.B. to have that moment surrounded by people who loved her for who she is.
“We are not defined by our genetic makeup, we are defined by our character and charisma,” Catastrophe said. “L.B. defies the odds by being who she is authentically and unapologetically.”
Pride Day, a family-friendly event, is hosted by the Gulf Coast Association of Pride and features drag shows, arts and crafts, vendors, free HIV testing and more. More than 2,000 attended this year’s festival, GCAP president Walter Pitts told the Sun Herald.
The GCAP invited L.B. to participate in the special ceremony.
“GCAP wanted her to have her moment that she deserved without any judgment in front of people that understand her,” Catastrophe said.