"I feel like I did nothing wrong."
Despite all of the progress that has been made in recent decades, there are still plenty of places in the country where it is extremely difficult for LGBTQ+ youth to live openly and authentically without being made to feel like they are different. Such was the case with Alabama teen Holley Gerelds, a recent Springville High School graduate who got left out of the school yearbook simply because she was wearing a tuxedo in her senior portrait.
"I hate to say it, but I’m used to it. I saw it coming," Gerelds told Birmingham's NBC News affiliate WVTM 13 in a report about her reaction to the incident. "I honestly just laughed...I feel like I did nothing wrong. I paid. I was on time."
Holly made the discovery of her omission when she was going through the pages of her senior yearbook. She told WVTM 13 that instead of finding her picture, she found her name in a "Not Pictured" section at the bottom of the last page of senior portraits.
"It's what I'm more comfortable in," Holly, who identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ community, said about her decision to wear a tuxedo for her photo, instead of the traditional drape that is assigned to female students. "I feel like if I was to wear the drape it's not me."
When asked to comment about why Gerelds was left out of her senior yearbook, St. Clair County Schools Superintendent Mike Howard released a statement saying: "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. We are in the process of reevaluating those guidelines to consider what changes, if any, need to be made."
When asked about what she hopes happens after this incident, Holly said: "That there's another girl just like me that wants to wear a tux and she gets to wear a tux. Or another boy like me. Or anybody who identifies as anything in the world, that they get to wear what they want. That's what I want."
Watch the full report on WVTM 13 News, here.0
An Alabama Teen Got Left Out of Her School Yearbook for Wearing a Tux0