At least 40 schools in the U.K. have banned girls from wearing skirts, mostly to be more inclusive of transgender and non-binary pupils, according to an analysis of uniform policies across the country.
At least eight secondary schools in Ipswich have a "trouser-only" policy for its pupils,
according to the analysis, Independent reported.
At Copleston High School, skirts have been added to the list of unacceptable items of clothing and all pupils have been asked to wear "plain grey trousers."
In Lewes in East Sussex, Priory School banned skirts after students questioned why boys and girls should wear different uniforms, arguing that transgender pupils must be taken into account, according to The Sunday Times.
Woodhey High School in Bury has a different reason for banning skirts, which it insists are "undignified and embarrassing" for staff and visitors especially because girls sit on the floor for assembly and some classes.
"Why would we define our children by the clothes they wear? We still have the same uniform, we simply removed all references to gender in our uniform policy," Jamie Barry, headteacher of Parson Street Primary School in Bristol, was quoted as saying earlier by local media.
Educate & Celebrate, an LGBT charity, is one of the groups behind the banning of skirts. "We are ensuring that all students are represented within the curriculum, enabling well-being and full participation," the charity's founder, Dr. Elly Barnes, was quoted as saying earlier. "Removing the association of 'boys' or 'girls' with particular clothes in a school uniform policy may not change the way students dress but it could be a huge deal to young people who don't identify as a boy or a girl."
The analysis of uniform policies was done as the U.K. Government launches a public consultation of the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, which allowed trans people to be legally recognized, to reform the Gender Recognition Certificate system, which currently recognizes trans people only if they are diagnosed with a mental illness.
However, even liberals are not happy with the trousers-only policy.
"I think that trousers-only for everyone is a silly way to go — unless you are going to also offer the option of skirts-only for everyone," American feminist author Naomi Wolf was quoted as saying. "I believe that if everyone is offered the option of both skirts and trousers, everyone can find his, her or their comfortable fit."
Last year, a couple in London said they were looking for a nanny who would look after their children in a completely gender neutral way, "not referring to them as 'she' or 'he'" among other do's and don'ts on their list of how to allow the children to choose their own gender.
"There are a few 'rules' that we'd like the nanny to adhere to. Here are a couple. Only refer to the children by their names — no pet names such as sweetie or hun and obviously not referring to them as 'she' or 'he,'" read a post on Childcare.co.uk, the social network for parents, tutors and childcare providers. "If you are out with them and they need to go to the bathroom, they need to choose which one to use."
It continued, "We have a selection of pre-approved books, toys, TV shows and films for the children to enjoy, please do not deviate from this list. Characters like Action Man and Barbie only serve to enforce gender stereotypes, for example."