Wednesday, November 17, 2004

School District Was Promoting Cross-Dressing Day

Nov. 16, 2004, 5:41PM
Texas school district nixes 'cross-dressing day'
By BOBBY ROSS JR.
Associated Press

Note to boys in the tiny Spurger, Texas, school district: Put away those
high heels and pleated skirts. Instead, wear black boots and Army
camouflage to school Wednesday.

A parent's concerns prompted the district 150 miles northeast of Houston
to scrap its annual "TWIRP Day" -- when boys dress like girls and girls
dress like boys-- in favor of "Camo Day."

TWIRP stands for "The Woman Is Requested to Pay," and for years Spurger
schools hosted the day during Homecoming Week to give boys and girls a
chance to reverse social roles and let older girls invite boys on dates,
open doors and pay for sodas.

Plano-based Liberty Legal Institute issued a news release Tuesday
reporting that it "came to the aid of a concerned parent requesting an
excused absence for her children on official cross-dressing day in her
children's elementary school."

"It is outrageous that a school in a small town in East Texas would
encourage their 4-year-olds to be cross-dressers," Liberty Legal Institute
attorney Hiram Sasser said in the release.

Tanner T. Hunt Jr., the school district's attorney, called Sasser's
statement "inflammatory and misleading." Hunt said the district never
planned or conducted a "cross-dressing day."

"They are a tiny little East Texas school district," said Hunt, a Beaumont
attorney. "It never occurred to them that anyone could find anything
morally reprehensible about TWIRP Day. I mean, they've been having it for
years, probably for generations, and it's the first time anybody has
complained."

Delana Davies, a 33-year-old mother of three, said she contacted
Superintendent Angela Matterson on Tuesday after reading a school notice
about "TWIRP Day."

Davies, whose 9-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter attend Spurger
Elementary, said she viewed the day not a silly Homecoming Week activity,
but as an effort to push a homosexual agenda in a public school.

"It's like experimenting with drugs," said Davies, who also has a
2-year-old daughter. "You just keep playing with it and it becomes
customary. ... If it's OK to dress like a girl today, then why is it not
OK in the future?"

After speaking with the Liberty attorney, Matterson agreed to exempt
Davies' son and older daughter from attending school on Wednesday.
However, district officials later decided to scrap "TWIRP Day" altogether
and replace it with "Camo Day," where students will wear camouflage
clothing.

"I just think it's unfortunate," Hunt said. "It was just never intended to
be anything other than just an innocent, fun day for children."

Matterson did not return telephone messages from The Associated Press on
Tuesday.

The Spurger event is not the first to cause controversy in a school district.

In Illinois, parent Laura Stanley complained this month about an "opposite
sex" dress-up day at Carrier Mills-Stonefort Elementary School.

Stanley said the activities sent a message of gender confusion and risked
subjecting her young daughters to sexual harassment by "a bunch of
adolescent boys who have suddenly grown breasts and are groping
themselves."

"I don't think it was a liberal agenda," said Stanley, a 35-year-old
mother of eight biological and foster children. "I think it was just
foolishness, just being funny, being silly, but it opens the door for
other things to happen."

In New York, officials at Hastings High School put a stop to
Cross-Dressing Day in October after school officials suggested guys in
chiffon skirts and brassieres and gals with painted-on mustaches were
distracting and disrespectful to transgender people.

In Spurger, Davies said she will dress her son in camouflaged overalls and
her daughter in a camouflaged T-shirt and denim skirt for "Camo Day."

"I'm happy that it's turned out like it has," she said. "But I don't want
them pushing it on me again in a few years."