15-year-old Mikel Gómez was expelled and referred to a psychologist for wearing a skirt.
Change can be sparked by a single person, and when it brings people together, it can set forth a transformation. A group of teachers from Spain, who clearly understood this well, came together to protest against a particular stereotype.
36-year-old Borja Velázquez, who works as a teacher at Virgen de Sacedon primary school in Valladolid, began coming to school in skirts in May 2021, after a male student was bullied for wearing an anime sweatshirt to school. The helpless young boy who was subjected to homophobic slurs was forced to take his shirt off.
In order to protest the incident, Velázquez began wearing skirts to school. Soon, his co-worker Manuel Ortega followed him. Speaking of the motives behind their actions, the pair stated that they hoped to promote tolerance, respect, and diversity.
The teachers also claimed that they wanted their students to unlearn the traditional norms that restricted the life and choices of people based on their gender.
Further, Velázquez took to Twitter and wrote, "A school that educates with respect, diversity, co-education, and tolerance. Dress how you want! We join the campaign #clotheshavenogender."
Happy #Pride Month!— 番 🐈⬛ (@1fanboh) June 1, 2021
"The teachers of Spain are standing in solidarity with a male student (Mikel Gómez) who was expelled last year for wearing a skirt to class, by showing up at their jobs clad in skirts themselves." #LaRopaNoTieneGenero https://t.co/yjHhe5jK1g
Meanwhile, this movement against gender norms is not new. According to El Pais, a Spanish newspaper, several male teachers stood in solidarity with 15-year-old Mikel Gómez when he was expelled from school for wearing a skirt to class.
Not only was the student thrown out of school but he was also referred to a psychologist after he ditched what is perceived as ideal "men's clothing." The humiliated teenager then released a video calling out male teachers and students to protest by wearing skirts.
Un cole que educa en el respeto, la diversidad, la coeducaión y la tolerancia. ¡Vístete como quieras! Nos sumamos a la inicitiva #LaRopaNoTieneGénero @CEIPVdeSacedon @educacyl @cfievalladolid @FTriangulo @fecylgtb pic.twitter.com/GgnoejXe2N— Borja Velázquez (@borjamusico) April 29, 2021
Consequently, the teachers of the institution decided to break the stereotypical gender norms by joining the movement.
"20 years ago I suffered persecution and insults for my sexual orientation in high school where I am now a teacher, many teachers, they looked the other way. I want to join the cause of the student, Mikel, who has been expelled and sent to the psychologist for going to class with a skirt," wrote Teacher Jose Piñas, who was one of the pioneers of the movement.
As the protest spread, more and more teachers and students joined the fight to establish the idea that clothes have no gender.
Soon, it snowballed into a full-fledged movement garnering the attention of many across the country. The issue became a subject of national interest and fuelled several debates on gender norms in the country.
Estos son mis amigos. Hoy fueron al insti con estas faldas y al llegar les llamo el instituto porque ‘les pareció una falta de respeto y de educación ‘ Los putos profesores no tnen porque criticar lo q lleven y llevemos puesto. Difundir #LaRopaNoTieneGenero osquierotios💖💖 pic.twitter.com/YlBczn2zOW— marinaa🖤 (@haaysssss) November 4, 2020
Parents, too, took to social media and joined the discussions. Fernando Ruiz, father of a nine-year-old boy, stated that his son was called a "fag or girl" for painting his nails. "Children cannot insult each other like that, they are things that come from home and we have to set an example," said the concerned father. Many supported him and his boy by encouraging the son to paint his nails again.
Cover Image Source: Borja Velázquez's Twitter