School dress codes around the world have come under fire for their support of outdated gender norms. In February, a group of high school boys in California wore dresses to fight back against the gender-bias rules that forbid males from wearing them, and the movement to demolish dress codes has been strongly supported by the LGBTQ community, which feels it is disproportionately targeted by gender-driven uniforms.
Now, it looks like the backlash is finally paying off, at least across the UK. Around 80 state institutions have rewritten or removed their uniform dress codes and are allowing students to choose what they wear to school every day as part of Educate & Celebrate, a program backed by the Department for Education. The initiative was designed to promote an LGBT-inclusive curriculum and to provide funding for schools to enact measures that aim to improve the lives of LGBT pupils. Its mission is to "promote each child’s right to express their gender and personality in whichever way feels right for them,” by making the rules for boys and girls the same, and it allows young students to select whether they would like to wear a uniform that features a skirt or a pair of slacks.
The program is a big accomplishment for LGBTQ students as well as those who choose not to dress according to gender norms. Celebrities like Jaden Smith and Young Thug have helped push the boundaries for gender neutral dressing, and the fashion world has taken note. Retailers like Zara have created genderless lines that mark a move away from the constricting gender binary.