For 17-year-old Gerónimo Aquino, a night meant for celebration, was marked by discrimination and controversy.
A student at Saint Patrick’s College in the province of Corrientes, wanted to “feel like himself” when he celebrated the end of the year with his peers. As part of this, the 17-year-old wanted to wear a dress to the event, and got his parents on board with the decision. Aquino’s father even went as far as sharing the photos of his son’s planned outfit with directors of the school in advance in hopes of getting permission from the school, and avoid any possible conflicts over the matter. However, the school vehemently denied the request f, in addition to rejecting the tennager’s ‘plan B’ — a suit with various re-touches and feathers on the shoulders.
In response, the teenager decided to write about the incident in a post on Facebook in hopes of sharing his side of the story and contribute to preventing this sort of thing from happening to others.
“We are in the 21st Century, the law on equal marriage has been passed […] it’s the day of MY high school graduation and I can’t dress how I want, for the simple reason that the director of the establishment does not support diversity and deems me to be: ‘a mess’ or ‘inappropriately dressed’.”
The teenager also continued in saying that he and his family were presented with the “threat, on various occasions,” that should he turn up dressed in a way that represented his identity, “they would throw me out of the school, leaving me both without a graduation celebration or in the worst of cases, not allowing me to graduate at all.”
As a result, Aquino was then allegedly called up by one of the directors “because of the repercussions it had, he told me it was disrespectful. He did not treat me with respect at any point nor let me explain and hung up the phone,” the teenager stated.
In the end, the Aquino was forced to buy a “suit that was appropriate for the director” Despite complying to this, upon arriving to the celebration and going to greet the director, the school administrator apparently turned away and ignored the family altogether.
Although the teenager lost the battle to wear what he wanted, he still considered everything else surrounding the incident a victory. Posting a photo of himself wearing the suit on Instagram, he wrote: ‘Thank you so much to all of those who have shared and supported my situation. […] I see that society in Corrientes has progressed, because I received support not only from those close to me, but also from private institutions. I hope this paves the way forward and reduces the number cases of discrimination.”