Boys can dance, despite the old joke that as good as Fred Astaire was with his stunning steps, Ginger Rogers did the same things, only backward and in high heels.
But for the second time in just months, a fight has erupted over that very issue.
The Pacific Legal Foundation has filed a complaint on behalf of a 15-year-old student at Dakota Valley High School in North Sioux City, South Dakota.
It’s because he is being denied permission by the South Dakota High School Activities Association to participate in competitions in the state “solely because he is a boy.”
“Freddie Linden is a freshman at Dakota Valley High School in North Sioux City, South Dakota. He has been dancing since age seven, and has competed with a studio dance team in South Dakota for several years. He is the only male dancer at the studio. Many female studio dancers are on his school’s competitive dance team, and the studio coach is also the school coach,” the PLF explained.
However, “In a misguided effort to comply with federal Title IX requirements, the South Dakota High School Activities Association established competitive dance as a ‘female-only’ sport – with no corresponding ‘male-only’ team. The only way Freddie can take part in competitive dance is to attend practices and competitions as team manager.”
That, the PLF contends, violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection, so it has taken the rule to court.
“This lawsuit would not affect schools’ ability to have sex-specific sports. That is, a school may establish both girls-only and boys-only basketball teams, which ensures equal opportunity. But as with any other type of discrimination, government needs an exceedingly persuasive reason for restricting athletic opportunities to just one sex,” the organization reported.
But the complaint notes that Linden lived for several years in Los Angeles, and during that time appeared in multiple television spots, a music video and more.
The foundation is asking federal court in South Dakota for a judgment that the girls-only rule has to be thrown out, and an injunction preventing its enforcement, plus attorney fees and costs.
WND has reported on the case of a Wisconsin school student who is barred by Minnesota state rules from competing in events in the neighboring state.
Again, only because he is a boy.
Now federal investigators have started looking into the case that involves the Minnesota State High School League.
In that case, it’s Kaiden Johnson, a 15-year-old sophomore at Superior High School in Superior, Wisconsin, who has danced competitively for eight years. Recently, on the school’s varsity dance team, he went across the state line to an event in Minnesota, where he was banned from the competition.
In that case, the PFL had suggested a fix, then filed a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
PLF said the Minnesota State High School League is violating Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and is under investigation by the OCR.
“This is the first vital and important step in ensuring that Minnesota boys have an equal opportunity to dance,” PLF said. “Minnesota, which relies on outmoded stereotypes about why boys should be prohibited from dancing, will now have to justify its discriminatory decision to the United States Department of Education.”
Pacific Legal explained Johnson’s decision to pursue dancing instead of a “boy sport” has led to “years of bullying, teasing, and loneliness.”
But he loves dancing.
“When you dance, it’s basically a story. I just love being able to express myself – to show my side of the story,” he was quoted saying.