Male teachers in Spain are wearing skirts as part of nationwide protests to end bullying and encourage students to express themselves freely with what they wear after a student was forced to see a psychologist for wearing a skirt to school.
In a viral video posted to TikTok last year, 15-year-old student Mikel Gómez said he had been removed from class after wearing a skirt to support women’s liberation and challenge gender norms. Gómez says he was sent to a psychologist, who proceeded to ask him whether he was transgender and if he identified as a woman. Gómez, who identifies as male, said he was told to wear pants and that he was later punished by his parents for the skirt.
The #LaRopaNoTieneGenero (#ClothesHaveNoGender) movement came to life after the October 2020 incident. Gómez’s math teacher, Jose Piñas, was one of the first to pick up the torch.
In November, Piñas posted: “20 years ago I suffered persecution and insults for my sexual orientation in the institute 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.”
Hace 20años sufrí persecución e insultos xmi orientación sexual en el instituto en el q ahora soy profesor, muchs profes, miraron para otro lado. Quiero unirme a la causa del alumno, Mikel, q ha sido expulsado y enviado al psicólogo por ir a clase con falda. #LaRopaNoTieneGenero pic.twitter.com/5PEN9vityY
— Jose Piñas (@joxepinas) November 9, 2020
The movement has continued to gain momentum, with even more teachers wearing skirts to combat bullying and promote diversity.
Manuel Ortega, 37, and Borja Velázquez, 36, from the public school Virgen de Sacedón in Valladolid, noticed one of their students being subjected to homophobic slurs because he liked Manga, the Japanese art form.
Having been inspired by Gomez’s story and the reaction from his teachers, they both decided to wear skirts to class.
They posted their photos to social media, and later explained to Teen Vogue they wanted “to show that we should be open to change and that words cause harm.”
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
Velázquez wrote on Twitter: “A school that educates with respect, diversity, co-education and tolerance. Dress how you want! We join the campaign #clotheshavenogender.”
Students in Galicia, in the northwest of Spain, are also staging monthly protests to further highlight the cause, with both male and female students wearing skirts on the 4th of each month.
Lía Menduíña Otero, a student and one of the movement’s promoters, told Público that the initial November protest “could not be forgotten and had to continue.”