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Lesbian Moms Petition Middle School After Principal Calls Son's Makeup 'Ridiculous, Distracting'

Lesbian Moms Petition Middle School After Principal Calls Son's Makeup 'Ridiculous, Distracting'

A pair of lesbian moms in St. Petersburg, Fla., launched a petition at MoveOn.org after their 14-year-old son was punished for wearing eyeliner and eyeshadow to the last day of classes at his middle school.

sunnivie

A pair of lesbian moms in St. Petersburg, Fla., launched a petition at MoveOn.org after their 14-year-old son was penalized for wearing eyeliner and eyeshadow to the last day of classes at his middle school. 

Chris Martin was finishing the eighth grade at Meadowlawn Middle School in Pinellas County, Fla., when he wore a shirt bearing an anarchy symbol and sheath, in addition to dark eyeliner, eyeshadow, and lipstick, reports the Tampa Bay Times. School officials, including the principal, demanded that he change his shirt and wipe off the makeup.

When Martin, who does not label his sexual orientation, asked his moms to help him apply eye makeup to wear to the last day of school on June 5, Katelynn Martin said she never anticipated a problem. 

"More than anything, I was happy to see him so confident in expressing himself," Katelynn Martin told the Huffington Post. "When he called a little later from the school to tell me that he got in trouble for the makeup and that the administration wanted him to wash it off, I was sad and then angry to hear in his voice that he had lost that self-confidence."

In the petition at MoveOn.org, Katelynn Martin says the school administration not only missed an important opportunity to demonstrate tolerance and acceptance, but also alleges that the principal, Claud Effiom, "expressed his own belief that boys wearing makeup is ridiculous, unnecessary, and distracting."

"My son has endured vicious bullying for the last several years, and unfortunately, he is not the only one," continues Martin. "These attacks are terribly damaging to young people, who are already struggling to find their identity. Incidents like the one yesterday only serve to further isolate these kids, who feel abandoned by the educators that are charged with their safety and well-being. It is unacceptable that these things should be allowed to occur anywhere, but most especially in a community as diverse and accepting as Pinellas County."

The Martins' petition, which calls on the Pinellas County School Board to implement LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum, tolerance training for all administrators and faculty, and encourage Gay-Straight Alliances in schools, already has more than 8,000 signatures. The Martins conceded that their son's shirt violated the dress code, but pointed out that the school handbook makes no mention whatsoever of makeup, and that their son's makeup was no different than that which female middle schoolers around the country regularly wear to class. 

A spokeswoman for the school district told the Times that there was "more to the story," but that she could not elaborate because it would reveal confidential information about the student. 

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Sunnivie Brydum

<p>Sunnivie is an award-winning journalist and the managing editor at&nbsp;<em>The Advocate</em>. A proud spouse and puppy-parent, Sunnivie strives to queer up the world of reporting while covering the politics of equality daily.</p>

<p>Sunnivie is an award-winning journalist and the managing editor at&nbsp;<em>The Advocate</em>. A proud spouse and puppy-parent, Sunnivie strives to queer up the world of reporting while covering the politics of equality daily.</p>