Oxford University has rewritten its academic dress code following concerns it was unfair to transgender students, the Guardian reports.
Under the ground-breaking new rules, male Oxford students can sit exams in skirts and female students can wear suits and ties, as they are no longer required to wear clothing specific to their gender.
The regulations, which were passed by the student union and come into force next week, follow a motion by Oxford’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer society (LGBTQ Soc).
Previously, transgender students had to seek special dispensation from exam proctors to wear clothes associated with the opposite gender.
LGBTQ Soc’s executive officer, Jess Pumphrey told The Oxford Student newspaper that in future there would be no “need for transgender students to cross-dress to avoid being confronted by invigilators or disciplined during their exam”.
Pumphrey said the changes would make the exam experience a lot less stressful for a number of students.
Simone Webb, LGBTQ Soc’s president, said it was “an extremely positive step” that was overdue.
“I am of the opinion that it is possible to keep elements of tradition in this way while making them unrestrictive to trans students, genderqueer students, or students who wish to wear a different sub fusc to that which they’d be expected to wear.”
The move sets a precedent in the education world, with the possibility of uniformed schools across the country becoming more mindful of transgender pupils when setting dress codes.
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