Male teachers in Spain have been wearing skirts to class and posting the images on social media to tackle negative stereotypes about gender in the country while also promoting diversity in the classroom.
A number of teachers across the country are wearing the article of clothing to their classrooms as part of the Clothes Have No Gender movement – promoted in Spanish by the hashtag #laropanotienegenero – after a male student was expelled for wearing a skirt to class last year.
Two teachers that have gained support and notoriety online after donning skirts to class are Manuel Ortega, 37, and Borja Velazquez, 36, who are both instructors in San Esteban, Valladolid.
The pair of instructors were inspired to show support for their students after one youth was bullied and mocked for wearing a t-shirt sporting an anime character. The boy eventually changed his outfit, shocking Manuel and prompting him to begin wearing the skirt to school throughout all of May.
“A school that educates with respect, diversity, co-education and tolerance,” Manuel wrote on Twitter. “Dress how you want! We join the campaign #clotheshavenogender.”
Another teacher, Jose Piñas, began wearing skirts to school a year ago after facing anti-gay bigotry during his youth.
Piñas was inspired to do so after 15-year-old student Mikel Gómez, who lives in the Basque Country, was removed from class and sent to see his psychologist after wearing a skirt to class. The experience, which Gómez later shared to TikTok, inspired myriad boys throughout Spain to wear skirts to class to take down gender norms.
Tweeting a photo of himself in a skirt, Piñas wrote: “20 years ago I suffered persecution and insults for my sexual orientation in the institute where I am now a teacher.”
“Many teachers, they looked the other way,” he continued. “I want to join the cause of the student, Mikel, who has been expelled and sent to the psychologist for going to class with a skirt.”
Parents have greeted the move by the teachers, with some online commentators noting that they appreciate the support being offered to their children in the typically harsh high school environment.
In recent years, social movements and critics have pointed out that culture surrounding how we dress has always been fluid, along with the expectation that men must dress one way and men another way.
One need only look at the historic use of kilts as a masculine article of clothing in Scotland, or the fact that jeans were once taboo for women before gaining popularity, to see that this is the case.
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