Kids Lose Roles In High School Production Over New Gender Policy

( – Conservatives across the US have passed laws related to transgender students. Athletics have become a flashpoint because of the perceived advantage trans females have over other female athletes. In one Texas school, a theater production is also causing an uproar.

The conflict at Sherman High School began when 17-year-old Max Hightower landed the lead role in the school’s production of “Oklahoma!” in October. The senior has been part of the theater and choir program for all four years, and this was his first lead role. Prior to this, he’d played only supporting roles. Well, at least it was until school officials prohibited him from playing the male role because he’s transgender and was born a female.

Phillip Hightower, Max’s dad, told NBC DFW that the principal notified the family about the change and said the school was enacting a new policy that only allowed male students to play male characters and female students to play female characters. “I was devastated,” the father said.

Sherman Independent School District issued a statement saying it was reviewing the production after receiving reports of “adult themes, profane language, and sexual content.” But it disputed the assertion that there is a policy about gender roles. The district said it doesn’t have a policy regarding how students are assigned roles in school productions. However, officials stated that in this production, the sex of the character in the script is what will be used when casting, but that’s not something that will apply to all future plays.

Hightower explained that he’s not someone who gets involved in politics; he’s just a father fighting for his child. He also said that other kids lost their roles because of the policy change. The father spoke to another news organization and pointed out that actors and actresses play different roles all the time. He said he “grew up watching Mrs. Doubtfire,” where Robin Williams played a female.

Max won’t be getting the role back. The district is currently reviewing the production.

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