Male teachers in Spain are wearing skirts in solidarity with a student who was expelled and sent to a psychologist for wearing one to school.
Teachers across the country have joined the Clothes Have No Gender movement (#laropanotienegenero), sparked when 15-year-old Mikel Gómez was punished for wearing the clothing in October last year.
In a now-viral TikTok video, the teen explained that he wore the skirt to challenge gender norms and support women’s liberation, but was promptly pulled out of class and taken to a psychologist who grilled him on whether he identified as a woman.
His video sparked a nationwide protest as hundreds of boys turned up to school wearing skirts on 4 November, now known as “wear a skirt to school day”.
After hearing the harrowing story, maths teacher Jose Piñas decided to follow the students’ example and wear a skirt to school himself.
“20 years ago I suffered persecution and insults for my sexual orientation in the institute where I am now a teacher,” Piñas wrote on social media.
“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.”
The movement’s gained pace as more teachers took up the cause – among them Manuel Ortega and Borja Velúquez, who teach at the Virgen de Sacedón primary school in Valladolid.
According to El Pais, the two men decided to wear skirts every day of the month of May in support of one of their own students who was bullied with homophobic slurs.
“A school that educates with respect, diversity, co-education and tolerance,” Velúquez tweeted, calling on others to take part. “Dress how you want! We join the campaign #clotheshavenogender.”
Meanwhile, male and female students from a group of high schools in Galicia have committed to wearing skirts on the 4th day of every month for six months to highlight the cause.
“After the first protest we thought we were too small,” organiser Lía Menduíña Otero told Público. “That could not be forgotten and we had to continue.
“They always tell us about the need to learn math, history, language,” she continued, “but not about something as important as equality.”
Thanks to their efforts, Otero’s school has now agreed to offer a course on gender equality.