Max Hightower, a transgender senior at Sherman High School in Texas, was cast as a lead in the musical “Oklahoma!” but was later told he could no longer play the role due to a new policy requiring students to be cast based on their assigned sex at birth.
This decision affected several students, including transgender, nonbinary, and cisgender individuals.
“It was just overwhelming,” the transgender said. “I was so excited. I ran and told all my friends.” (Trending: Donald Trump Loses His Cool At High-Stakes $250 Million Trial)
Trans student kicked out of lead role of high school production of ‘Oklahoma!’ over gender policy
Max Hightower’s father said that just two weeks after his son got the role, the principal notified them about a new policy under which “only males can play males.”
A Texas student… pic.twitter.com/wqmR3gttTE
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“We just had this giant cry sesh outside of the choir room,” Hightower stated of receiving the news.
The school district cited the script’s identification of the character’s sex as the basis for casting decisions.
The show’s postponement was also announced due to concerns regarding mature themes and content.
Parents and students expressed disappointment and concern about the impact on LGBTQ students and the school’s theater program.
“As it relates to this particular production, the sex of the role as identified in the script will be used when casting. Because the nature and subject matter of productions vary, the District is not inclined to apply this criteria to all future productions,” communications director Meghan Cone stated.
“It’s very clear to us and all the other parents and families that this isn’t an issue about ‘Oklahoma!’ itself or the content of the show,” said mother Kayla Brooks.
“This is an issue about a trans kid who got cast as one of the lead roles,” Brooks pressed.
“I am really disappointed that the school district didn’t take the opportunity to educate the concerned person about gender-blind casting and the history of theater.”
“I am really disappointed that the school district didn’t take the opportunity to educate the concerned person about gender-blind casting and the history of theater,” said another mom. “But instead of doing that, they had a knee-jerk reaction and decided to make a policy change that has now forever ruined the history of theater at Sherman High School.”
“Is this politically motivated? Is this religiously motivated? What are you supposed to tell your kids?” another mother said. “It’s just not a friendly place for LGBTQ students.”
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