Lily Madigan, an 18-year-old student at St. Simon Stock Catholic School in Maidstone, Kent, announced her transition to the world via Facebook in January. In March, she wore the mandated female uniform to school for the first time and was promptly sent home for doing so. After principal Brendan Wall told her she could either go back to wearing the men’s uniform or find a new school, Madigan lawyered up, according to The Huffington Post UK.
In addition to telling Madigan she couldn’t wear the uniform she felt most comfortable in, administrators also told her she would not be able to use the women’s bathroom and that her teachers would call her Liam, the name she was given at birth (despite the fact Madigan had her name legally changed to Lily by that point).
Though a student-driven petition supporting Madigan and demanding the school allow trans students to wear the uniform they’re more comfortable in garnered more than 200 signatures, Wall refused to change anything. Madigan fell into a “deep depression,” she told HuffPo UK, and began missing a lot of school.
She ended up hiring a lawyer over summer vacation, BuzzFeed reports, and the firm took the case pro-bono because they believe it was “a pretty clear case of them [the school] discriminating against [her].” In addition to sending the school a letter very clearly listing how Madigan should be treated, it was also “pointed out the laws the school was breaking – the Equality Act and the Human Rights Act – and it pointed out the school was breaking its own policy on diversity and equality.”
Almost immediately, Wall apologized and Madigan was able to return to school in the fall wearing the women’s uniform. She told BuzzFeed her teachers now call her Lily and - for the most part - use the correct pronouns when speaking to her. “I was proud,” she told the site. “I was happy in one sense but…I wish it didn’t have to happen.” Her attendance is up and she’s spending time at school prepping for a fashion degree so she can one day make her own clothes.
Cosmopolitan.com reached out to Madigan for comment and will update this post accordingly.
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