Cross-dressing skits are outdated

Skits at Pack the House, school assemblies should respect identities and presentations of all

By Meredith Chapple

Boys strutting through the gym in short tutus and skirts have been featured entertainment at Pack the House for years.

It tends to get big laughs. The shock-value of seeing a person in attire they don’t typically sport is considered funny, but upon further consideration, those jokes come at the cost of others. The traditional (and frankly, overdone) cross-dressing skit is outdated and might just be on the way out as LHS becomes more aware and accepting of its LGBTQ+ students.

So far, there are no plans to do any cross-dressing skits with the senior boys during this year’s Pack the House, a kickoff to the winter sports season planned for Nov. 23. They’re planning on wearing suit vests and short shorts, said senior Austin Butell, who is performing in the skit.

“It’s kind of provocative,” Butell said. “I think it’ll make everybody laugh. It’s not something that you see senior guys do.”

Cutting cross dressing from Pack the House is a good move. The event is about fun with food donations to benefit charity, prizes and scrimmages, and that fun should be inclusive of every student. Cross-dressing for jokes marred the event as a form of disrespect to people in the LGBTQ+ community — even if it wasn’t meant that way.

After the legalization of same-sex marriage in June, a more diverse range of LGBTQ+ issues are being brought to the forefront.

In Kansas, we still have a long way to go. Discrimination against people who identify as gay or trans is legal, regarding issues like jobs and buying a house. Thanks to Gov. Sam Brownback, an order that protected members of the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination in state jobs was repealed earlier this year. Even though it’s (hopefully) on the path to change, we need to help accelerate that change toward equality.

That can only happen by eliminating stereotypes toward people in the LGBTQ+ community — especially in high school, where we’re establishing our basic sense of morals.

“School should be a safe, welcoming environment for all people and all students,” Lindsay Buck, co-sponsor of the Gay-Straight Alliance, said. “Even if it’s meant as ‘just a joke’ or ‘to be funny,’ it comes across as offensive and demeaning toward women and toward members of the LGBTQ+ community.”

A national survey conducted by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network has revealed that 75 percent of transgender youth feel unsafe at school. Making insensitive jokes in the form of skits about someone’s style or gender identification is a possibility for this statistic to be increased.

“It might be discouraging to some of the LGBTQ youth,” freshman Adam Leonard said.

Discrimination was never the point. Spirit squad sponsor Gwen Wedd, who is in charge of Pack the House, said the skits started after students wanted to recreate performances from KU’s Late Night.

But as we become more aware of the needs of our LGBTQ+ community, it’s important to step back and reevaluate for the future. There’s a hard line that needs to be watched to stop discrimination from happening.

“We have to keep in mind that there are people in the crowds that won’t find this funny and that might feel bullied by such performances,” Buck said.

Although cross-dressing skits are meant to funny, turning it into a joke can be hurtful to those who identify as transgender or dress opposite to societal norms. It is important to be sensitive and respectful toward all types of students.

“You can be funny and fun and pump up the crowd without poking fun at other groups,” Buck said.