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Gay Virginia High School Student Suspended for High Heels: VIDEO


Asante Cotman, a 17-year-old student who wore high heels to class and was suspended for three days after being ordered to remove them for disrupting the school, says the real reason he was suspended is because he's gay, NBC12 reports:

Asante refused to take off the heels and the principal called him out of every class.

"She said I was being disrespectful because she told me to take them off and I didn't take them off. And she called me again because I didn't take them off. I don't understand disrupting the class, because nobody was talking about it. Everybody was doing their work. People have seen me wear heels before. People see me with a pocketbook every day," Asante said...

...Asante says female students wear high heels and the slippers they demanded he wear violate the student dress code because of the open heel.  He believes he's being punished for his sexual orientation.

"They suspended me for being gay," he said. "I'm missing a lot of classes. I'm missing classes that I need to graduate."

Asante was scheduled to return to school today.

Watch NBC12's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. brass balls, kiddo.

    brass balls.

    they suspended him not just for being gay, but for being DEFIANT.

    many people are ok with "gay" as long as it's submissive gay - nothing makes them more angry than a young gay person who has the courage to be who they are, and the WAY they are about it, with a fearlessness that they wish they could possess.

    of course, this thread will invite anger from grown-adult men who themselves are not Out yet.

    they'll be wrong. a young black gay brother of ours, OURS, who is showing a kind of courage that most of us could only ever hope to hold.

    Asante, I stand by you.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 5, 2012 3:21:08 PM

  2. Why on earth would you wear high heels to school unless your intent was to anger, irritate and defy authority - especially if you are male? Is he a transexual, is that what he is trying to say? Sometimes I can only shake my head in disbelief at what some of us will do for attention. If you are gay then be proud of yourself. Making a spectacle does not become you and it certainly doesn't help the rest of us.

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Mar 5, 2012 3:26:29 PM

  3. Let's be real. Whether or not it is covered by the dress code, high heels on a man is going to be distracting in a school environment, especially in Virginia. Not everything is about an underlying discriminatory agenda. To a certain extent, being a teenager is about testing boundries and raging against authority. I think that is what this was, just with a wonderfully gay twist.

    Posted by: cdubois | Mar 5, 2012 3:31:52 PM

  4. He wants the attention. If they had "seen him in high heels" before, there wouldn't be the problem. If the principal asked him to take them off, he should have taken them off. It's called respect. And it's not about him being gay - that's a cop out - it's about him being disrespectful. I have a five year old that is defiant who doesn't want to listen, doesn't want to do what he's told -- and it's disrespectful. I'm sure there are other gay kids at the school who aren't trying to be the center of attention by screaming "Look at me!" Where are this kid's parents? He's still in high school. Something tells me his mother didn't let him out of the house is high heels.

    Posted by: Bart | Mar 5, 2012 3:33:14 PM

  5. just like those appalling women decades ago who DARED to wear pants to school, eh OS2?

    right? those awful attention-seeking women who opted not to wear skirts and chose instead to wear pants? or how about those sinful ladies who straddled a horse, rather than sit with both legs to one side like a lady is SUPPOSED to?

    RIGHT? ;-)

    "girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short and wear shirts and boots because it's ok to be a boy. but for a boy to look like a girl is 'degrading', because you think that being a girl is degrading."

    you seem to be suggesting, OS2, that there's something inherently wrong and harmful about what he's done.

    newsflash - "because bigots don't like something" doesn't mean that their dislike it justified.

    thank GOD for the people who stand up by Standing Out to bring awareness to the double-standards and baseless prejudices that still mire global culture.

    you, OS2GUY, on your own webpage can't even post a photo of yourself. you're a grown adult man still living in fear. of course YOU don't understand a much-younger man who has the courage to live freely despite what Bigots think.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 5, 2012 3:34:10 PM

  6. Public schools can prescribe uniforms if they deem them necessary. Students do not have the right to wear what ever they want in school. Girls are not permitted to show up wearing pasties and a string bikini. Boys are not permitted to go shirtless to class, or go without pants/shorts. Freedoms of expression can be limited at schools.

    Posted by: David in Houston | Mar 5, 2012 3:35:23 PM

  7. Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of us are confusing sexual orientation with gender identity.

    Having an attraction for men (sexual orientation) does not pre-determine how we dress or present ourselves in public (expression / presentation), so we have in our 'gay' spectrum men who are both normatively masculine ('normatively' because that is what is expected of men) and transgressively feminine ('transgressive' because that is NOT what is expected of men).

    Asante, then, is not being targeted because he is gay (because I'm sure the school couldn't care less if he was gay if he dressed and behaved like all the other boys); rather, he is being targeted for transgressing the division between 'appropriate' boy attire and 'appropriate' gay attire. This is an attack on his expression / presentation, particularly his gender transgressions.

    This does not mean that he wants to be a woman. It just means that he is much happier and more comfortable wearing clothing that is traditionally -- or stereotypically -- prescribed for women / girls.

    Know the difference!

    Posted by: Smokey | Mar 5, 2012 3:36:42 PM

  8. Correction: mistaking sexual orientation with gender *expression*!

    Posted by: Smokey | Mar 5, 2012 3:37:16 PM

  9. I had a Math teacher who wouldn't let you in his classroom if saw your t-shirt under your shirt. You had to button your shirt higher. Don't know how he felt about heels.
    Times change.

    Posted by: RobWest | Mar 5, 2012 3:37:40 PM

  10. Be who you are, kid. Good for have a lot more nerve than most of the Banana Republicans on here.

    Posted by: ChristopherM | Mar 5, 2012 3:40:49 PM

  11. what's INHERENTLY HARMFUL about his wearing heels? what, ignorant insecure bigots don't like it? SO WHAT?

    like those awful Jewish kids who disrespect Christians by wearing star of david necklaces?

    like those awful black kids who don't try to "pass for white"?

    how many of you guys on here criticizing this kid are able to live lives as OPENLY as he is? none of you, from the looks of it.

    what's the deal? it's ok to be gay as long as you're gay in a way that "doesn't bother straight people?" what nonsense.

    Equality is not just for "Gays Who Pass for White" - if you catch my drift.

    heaven help any of the trans children at this school, who are no doubt seeing this and feeling terrified by it.

    how is wearing heels "disrespectful"? there has to be an inherent issue. Insecure Bigots choosing not to like something, with no intellectual back up, does not freakin' count.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 5, 2012 3:41:46 PM

  12. Those shoes are hideous! Are they taupe?

    Posted by: endo | Mar 5, 2012 3:44:21 PM

  13. Asante provides no evidence that the way he was treated was because he is gay. To do that, he would need to show that heterosexual males are permitted to wear similar shoes with no criticism from administrators and/or that gay people who wear conventional shoes are being mistreated.

    He could instead have argued that the administrators are sexist, but then again there would need to be evidence that females are permitted to wear stiletto heels and males are not.

    His argument as it is presented in this report suggests he may not understand what "gay" means.
    I would wonder if, instead, he may realize ten years from now that the real issue was one of sexism and/or transphobia and that maybe he is actually transgendered or a cross-dresser.

    Those shoes look ridiculously uncomfortable and unhealthy (every time I see a girl stumbling to balance on her tippie-toes in stilettos, I wonder why anyone would destroy her back just to look fashionable), and really I don't think any parent should be buying them for a teenager.

    But unless those are the kinds of concerns that administrators have (and they apply to all students equally), I don't see why they make it their business what he wears. His argument here just sounds too much like prematurely jumping to conclusions.

    Posted by: GregV | Mar 5, 2012 3:45:38 PM

  14. GREGV, he's also 17. and finding himself. and is now being told, by administrators, that who he is, or feels like he is right now, cannot be externalized.

    this is, indeed, related to him being gay in the sense that they're punishing him for "not being what is expected of a man" - the cowardice on display in these comments is sad, but expected.

    i'm frankly stunned that the grown-up adults on this site who are criticizing this boy don't see him for what he is - more brave than themselves, and certainly me.

    he's a gay black teenager in VIRGINIA. and he's daring to find and express himself in a way that make him a visible target to insecure bigots who hold prejudices that they don't themselves truly understand.

    we should all be as fearless.

    we see this over and over again - insecure semi-closeted homosexuals blaming gender-nonconformists for the baseless bigotry still plaguing our collective cultures.

    the problem is not that he wore heels. the problem is that people choose to take issue with it, despite the card hold reality that there are no intellectually sound arguments that would explain the inherent harm or wrongdoing on his behalf.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 5, 2012 3:54:43 PM

  15. @GregV: Sorry, but I disagree. It's possible to be gay and transgender. And at his age, I'm guessing that he knows that he's at least one.

    No one was bugging him and he wasn't causing problems. But it's VA, so it comes as no surprise.

    Posted by: Paul R | Mar 5, 2012 4:08:42 PM

  16. WTF? As in WTF does being a gay male have to do with wearing female attire? Outside of Halloween/costume parties. I don't care what he wears, but if he is cross-dressing then he is cross-dressing, which is something that many heterosexuals engage in - i.e., it has nothing to do with being gay. And I don't think that cross-dressers should be targeted either. Just call a spade a spade and don't automatically equate being gay with cross-dressing.

    Posted by: Jeff | Mar 5, 2012 4:10:21 PM

  17. How sad that when given a choice between attacking or supporting queer youth, too many adults will choose the former over the latter. And they speak in exactly the same voice as the people who oppress us.

    Posted by: Steve | Mar 5, 2012 4:11:36 PM

  18. And not surprisingly, we have a chorus of posters here defending this action. Right, because, you know, Asante MUST have done this for attention. That's the only reason why he has/did wear the high heels. I mean, he's a guy, guys aren't supposed to wear heels, we don't identify with girly things like that! He wants sympathy and attention. He's an embarrassment to gays around the world because he's "too fem".

    Posted by: Francis | Mar 5, 2012 4:15:56 PM

  19. Note how women can wear either trousers or dresses in public. However, if a man were to wear a dress, he'd be laughed at by society, including by women.

    Point is that women exploit double standards in order to obtain preferential treatment. This sort of behavior by women causes homophobia towards men.

    Posted by: jason | Mar 5, 2012 4:29:42 PM

  20. These stories crop up occasionally, usually involving youth who are influenced to believe that cross-dressing is what being gay is all about. They usually come from cultures that force male homosexuals to feminize themselves as a way to stigmatize them and separate them from "real" men.

    Posted by: Rance | Mar 5, 2012 4:30:31 PM

  21. Very nice!

    Posted by: narrative essay | Mar 5, 2012 4:35:18 PM

  22. trolljason, this isn't women's fault. it's the fault of insecure men.

    and rance, what cultures "force homosexuals to feminize" themselves?
    are you talking about the cultures that have "forced" you to remain Closeted?

    how about you influence culture in the way YOU deem more appropriate? you can always show us your own youtube video where you show us all the kind of gay man you are ......

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 5, 2012 4:43:15 PM

  23. Every human being wearing high heels wants attention - and deforms his body. But that's just my personal opinion...

    If the school has a zero tolerance for those kinds of clothing, which applies to boys and girl alike, I see no discrimination here.

    Posted by: benwick | Mar 5, 2012 4:45:20 PM

  24. This student seems transsexual to me, not Gay. Cross-dressing is costuming, and no, that's not appropriate for school. However, if a Transperson is expressing gender identity, that's something altogether different. The adults involved need to get to the bottom of this behavior, in as sensitive and responsible a manner as they can.

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Mar 5, 2012 5:02:32 PM

  25. He got just what he deserved. The courts have upheld school dress codes as Constitutional--even public schools can require students to wear uniforms.....and the purpose of them is to prevent the kind of attire that creates disruption. I got sent home from school in high school myself back in the 70's for having "wild" hair (even by 70's standards)--I didn't like it, but there was nothing I could do about it.

    And yes, Francis, any gay man who wears women's clothing or otherwise chooses to behave effeminately is an embarrassment and does not deserve any sympathy when they experience problems because of it--as they invariably will. It is their choice to act that way and they can live with the consequences.

    Posted by: Rick | Mar 5, 2012 5:08:05 PM

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