What is gender neutrality?

Isaiah Mckay, Editor

Like any other second grader, I looked forward to Halloween. Halloween was something I fully encompassed myself in. Each year was a new adventure with a wide range of options.

When given the opportunity to pick out my costume, it was only right that I chose a character that was essential in my second grade daily life. I spent an entire week watching my favorite TV shows and trying to decide on a specific character’s look to replicate. I quickly landed on the Blue Wind Ranger costume from my favorite early morning show, “Power Rangers Ninja Storm.”

I told my dad to buy the costume and I immediately felt accomplished and ready to enjoy the Halloween costume party and parade at school. That feeling of accomplishment was quickly snatched away from me by an older peer concerning my costume attire.

“Are you a girl?” he asked.

“No! Why?” I replied.

“Because you’re wearing the blue girl ranger costume.” he yelled.

“So! I like this costume and this is my favorite color,” I said.

I tried to flip through some commonly used elementary school disses, after a long moment of silence and a few giggles from those around me. Hopefully something that would enable me to make a scene ultimately storming off. I replaced one diss after another in my head but there was absolutely no way that a “yo momma” joke or even the classic “I know you are but what am I?” was applicable in this situation. I just had to slowly walk away with whatever confidence and youthful pride that I had left.

After reading about the Lee’s Summit North student that was sent home by administration due to his “distracting” clothing choices, it reminded me of this memory. The idea that someone is not truly given the freedom to express themselves in the clothing that they feel comfortable in without caution of being criticized, reprimanded or asked to restrain themselves is wrong.

Society judges people by what fabric they choose to wear, their level of masculinity or femininity, perpetual stereotypes, and much more. People are more than what meets the eye or reaches the ear. We should be accepting these self-expressions, rather than trying to decide if someone can or can’t do something.

To my second grade self, I would say don’t let anyone restrict you from fully expressing yourself in the most outward and eccentric way. You should never fear those that feel the need to put people down, it’s only a result of their self-doubt.

And finally to the kid that questioned my costume, not everyone is molded like the next person. You can’t attack someone (especially a younger child) who isn’t really concerned of how others might react to something they feel comfortable doing.