Alabama High School Graduate Left Out Of Yearbook For Wearing A Tuxedo
"I've worn suits for as long as I can remember.”
18-year old Holley Gerelds said that there was talk about her senior picture getting cut from the yearbook of her high school leading up to her graduation. She was attending Springville High in Alabama and graduated this year. Before taking her senior picture Holly asked to wear a tuxedo instead of a V-neck and black-velvet drape typically worn by female graduates.
"I've worn suits for as long as I can remember. I wear them to school," Gerelds said to BuzzFeed News. "I've always worn masculine clothing, it's just what I'm more comfortable in and I feel like it expresses me more." At the time of taking her picture, the school photographer told Holley that her choice of clothing was totally acceptable. Last week when she received her yearbook she had to shockingly realize that she wasn’t in it.
After finding out she tweeted: “I took my senior portraits wearing a tux instead of a drape. guess who wasn’t pictured lol @happyhippiefdn"
Holley was not only being listed as “not pictured” but the school also spelled her last name wrong. She told BuzzFeedNews that this was the first time she experienced discrimination in her home state Alabama for being a lesbian.
"I know that’s kind of shocking to some people because I live in the Deep South in the Bible Belt, but other than a few dirty looks when I go out, I’ve never received any discrimination or hate from my school or my city or even the state of Alabama as a whole," she said.
In another tweet she said: “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.”
After a lot of backlash caused by removing Holley’s portrait from the yearbook, St. Clair County Schools Superintendent Mike Howard promised to add her portrait with the correct spelling of her last name. "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," he said. "We are in the process of re-evaluating those guidelines to consider what changes, if any, need to be made."
Holley’s picture will also be included in the composite photo of her entire class that hangs in the halls of the high school. Gerald says: "I guess it’s enough for me personally because I just wanted to be in the yearbook with my classmates and to be on that wall, but it’s not enough if it happens to someone else. That’s why I’m happy to be speaking out about it — because I don’t want anyone else to go through this."