Why it’s ok that we’re wearing red at graduation

by The Glen Echo Staff

I am a cisgender female. I identify as female. I’m okay with wearing a red cap and gown to graduation if I know it makes people feel comfortable and feel free to be themselves at graduation. While technically white is one of the school colors, I believe it is fair to say it is not the most dominant. Wearing red not only unifies the grade, but it is the color that makes the most sense out of the two.

Traditions are a large part of many high schools and I fully respect that. However, Glen Rock has had the same tradition of girls wearing white while the boys wear red in place since 1959. The average cost of a new house that year was around $13,000. Alaska and Hawaii became states. Mattel released Barbie dolls for the first time. It is clear times were different. Times change, trends change, people change. That’s expected. Some traditions are meant to last forever while others are not. Gender fluidity was not a known about or talked about topic when this tradition first formed. Since 1959, people have become more comfortable with being themselves. Telling them they have to wear a certain color is not right. While I agree this was not handled perfectly by administrators, I respect the decision. If we were given the choice between white and red, girls would still be pressured by their peers to choose white while boys would still be expected to choose red. Many are focusing on a small aspect of graduation when in the grand scheme of things in life, it is an extremely minuscule detail. In our future, the color we wore at graduation will not affect the majority of people. Instead, It would affect gender fluid and/or transgender students who cannot feel comfortable at such an important milestone in their life.

On graduation day, my mother will probably cry. This is not going to be because she’s upset she won’t be able to see me walk in a white robe like past generations at GRHS have. It will be because she’s proud of me for graduating high school, an opportunity plenty of people of all genders around the world will not get the opportunity to do.

GRHS students, I encourage you to take a step back for a moment and realize the gravity (or lack of gravity) of this situation. Wearing red robes to graduation does not put us in any danger, it doesn’t harm us, and it won’t affect our lives in any way besides maybe the fact we think our graduation photos will look better in white as opposed to red. Administration has made the decision for us to all wear red. These are the cards we have been dealt. Because of this, let’s make the most of our graduation day, as a united class. Let’s focus on all the great times we have had in high school. I know come graduation day, every person of every gender will look amazing in our robes, no matter what color.