Transgender Texas Theater Student Denied Lead Role Over School Policy
A Texas theater student, who identifies as transgender, recently lost their lead role in a school play because of a school policy that actors and actresses can only play a role that aligns with their assigned gender at birth, according to KXII. The student, Max Hightower, had previously earned the lead male role in the school's production of Oklahoma.
The principal of Sherman High School called Hightower's father to tell him that Max lost the role due to this "policy"; however, SISD said no gender policy exists per se. If you're confused, I don't blame you.
Additionally, SISD said there is no policy on how students are assigned to roles, but for this production, the gender of the role as identified in the script will be used for casting. This may not apply to future productions.
To me, it seems as if this "policy" was invented/implemented solely to deny Max the lead male role in the play. Max's parents, "are now determined to get Max back into the role and keep Sherman Theater a safe space for all students."
For the sake of being intellectually honest, let's set any personal beliefs about transgenderism aside for a moment and look at the long history of theater to be our guide.
If you know even a morsel about the production of plays throughout the centuries, you know that it is common, if not even traditional, for a different gender to play a particular role. In ancient Greece, men played all parts, including the roles of females. In traditional Japanese kabuki theater, males also played the roles of women. Shakespeare's productions commonly saw young men and boys play the roles of women.
Fast forward to more modern theater- most of us know that Peter Pan is almost always played by a young woman. There are many more examples of this I could cite, but suffice it to say that the actor or actress assigned to a role is generally the one that is best suited for it. It also seems that Max was best suited for the lead male role in Oklahoma since they got the part in the first place. Which can only lead us to the conclusion that Sherman High School's policy does not honor the history of the subject they are supposedly teaching.
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