A high school student in Springville, Ala., was excluded from her yearbook after wearing a tux for her senior portrait. Now she’s arguing that she was left out because, she says, “I’m a lesbian who wanted to wear a tux instead of a drape.”
Holley Gerelds took to Twitter on Thursday to share a photo of the “Not Pictured” section of the Springville High School yearbook, where her name was displayed underneath. However, she clarified that it wasn’t that she hadn’t gotten her photo taken, but instead that the school seemingly didn’t approve of the photo she took.
— hg (@holley__g) August 15, 2019
i would like to add that i’m not trying to get anyone in trouble or sent hate. i’m just upset that i didn’t get put into MY senior yearbook because i’m a lesbian who wanted to wear a tux instead of a drape. i paid for my pictures just like everyone else.
— hg (@holley__g) August 15, 2019
The 18-year-old tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the senior portrait was taken back in June 2018, when she chose to wear what she was most comfortable in: a tux.
“I’ve always worn masculine clothing,” she says. “I was under the impression that my picture would be in the yearbook. No one told me I couldn’t wear the tux until I went to retake my pictures in the fall.”
Gerelds went to retake her photo — again wearing her tux — because she didn’t like her hair in the original pictures. But when she arrived, the photographer refused to take the photo unless she put on the provided drape.
“I took my money back and left,” Gerelds explains. “When I saw my picture wasn’t included and that my name, misspelled, was listed under ‘not pictured’ I laughed because I expected it.”
Still, she was mad after having paid for the first round of pictures, not to mention the $75 she’d forked over for the yearbook itself. But after sharing her frustration on Twitter, the teen gained lots of support and ultimately settled the issue with her school.
Mike Howard, the superintendent of St. Clair County Schools, provided Yahoo Lifestyle with the following statement:
“I have received requests to comment on a student issue concerning senior portraits taken at Springville High School. Unfortunately, I am unable to comment on specific student matters. I understand that the senior portraits taken at Springville High School during the last school year were taken in accordance with long-standing school guidelines. We are in the process of reevaluating those guidelines to consider what changes, if any, need to be made.
“I can confirm that the composite photograph of the Springville High School Class of 2019 will include all students that participated in the senior portrait process, regardless of their choice of attire. In addition, we are reprinting a page of Springville High School’s recent yearbook to correct the misspelling of a student’s name and to include all students, regardless of their choice of attire.
“We wish all graduates of Springville High School and all schools throughout St. Clair County nothing but the best in their future endeavors.
Gerelds says that she shared her story in an effort to spread awareness of the incident, rather than to get anybody in trouble.
“I didn’t want to cause trouble at school. I also did not mean any harm by my tweet,” she says. “I want everyone to be educated on the incident so this will never happen to another student again. I hope people look at my story and stick up for themselves, too.”
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