His dad, Christopher McCormack, let the school know his son was attending the event, to which a school official responded, "I respectfully ask that Angus wear appropriate attire." Angus, a 2013 graduate of the school, wore a suit. Isn't that appropriate attire? Noooope. On Facebook, Angus explained the situation in full.
Dear friends, family and colleagues.
It is with great sadness that I write to tell you about such an outrageous and disgraceful event in which I was involved on Friday 6 May.
On that day, I returned to my hometown of Bendigo for the weekend and decided to attend an event organised by my former high school (Girton Grammar School). The annual Foundation Day Service is held in the Sacred Heart Cathedral and this year honoured the one hundred and thirty third year of the school. My Father was just one of many members of the school Board, and asked me to accompany him to the event. This is of course was very fitting given that I was not only a past student, but also the school captain of 2013. My father courteously advised the school of my attendance to which they replied and specifically noted that “...I respectfully ask that Angus wear appropriate attire…” for the event.
Now, those who know me are fully aware that I am openly gay and very confident in my often “bold” choices of fashion. (I was originally considering rocking a dress and some killer heels!) However, I decided to “tone down” my appearance and be respectful to their wishes. Therefore, I decided to wear minimal makeup, a single small earring, neat black leather pants, a white shirt with a black bow tie and black designer jacket. A suit by any definition of the word, although not in the typical commercial fabrics. Upon my arrival at the Cathedral, after greeting a lot of excited staff and students on my way in, I was approached by the deputy head at the aisle and without even greeting me she told me I was “inappropriately dressed" and commanded that I “…leave the event.”
To avoid further embarrassment and a potentially ugly scene, I decided to graciously turn away and walk out. Although my Father as a Board member (at the time…he has since resigned!) had duties to perform at the service, he was so disgraced by my refusal of entry that he departed with me to support me in my rejection. The situation is now growing greater awareness as people who saw what happened talk and I have had an outstanding amount of support and encouragement from a lot of family and friends so far which has been amazing. My family and I are incredibly hurt by the actions, which have been exercised against me and despite trying to remain my bubbly and confident self, this is eating away at the core of who I am, not to mention the utter sense of despair I have suffered in being turned away by the school with which I was once so proud to be associated with.
Since I have not been contacted by anyone currently at the school let alone received any remote form of apology or acknowledgment, I have decided it is time to take things further. I am not only seeking fair treatment for myself, but I also want to fight for all those people out there who don’t have a voice, who don’t know who they are and who can’t openly express themselves. Its 2016! This kind of discrimination against any person regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation or beliefs is just utterly appalling. Funnily enough, the school seems to believe that this issue will disappear and not affect their reputation or enrolments.
If you truly believe that I have been mistreated by the School, the best way that you can assist for now, is to write an email to the Headmaster (as long or short as you like) at (firstname.lastname@example.org
.au) and express your concerns directly to him. He needs to hear that the community does not condone this intolerable behaviour in our society today. I have attached a photo of my outfit from the evening below if you wish to make your own judgment on what you think is “appropriate or inappropriate”.
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy lives to read this, it truly means a lot to me.
Well, obviously this school has no fashion sense because Angus looked great in those leather pants.
At this rate, Angus should've said, "To hell with it," and worn a dress.
No doubt it would've been as great of an outfit as those leather pants, which are deceptively tricky to pull off.
Angus, who wrote that this situation "is eating away at the core of who I am," has found much support online.
What a lovely young man you are, very smartly dressed. Does it matter that much anyway? What a bigoted lot at that school. It makes me very angry to see discrimination of this kind. You carry on being who you are regardless of others. My grandson is gay and I love him dearly, so this makes me even angrier towards those bigots.
what you were wearing. (Mainly because that seems to have been well covered.)
You're a well spoken, good mannered young man. But if they're going to base such importance on how you clad the outside, I guess they really aren't going to realize the quality of person they've just denied an opportunity.
That's completely their loss. I'm glad you are speaking up, so that others might not be treated as you were.
I think you look very smart Angus and Girton certainly owes you an apology. Just a lot of old fuddy duddies who have some very old school ideas and need to focus on what is important ; who people are under their clothes and outward appearance. Good on your Dad! I would have done the same if it had been one of my kids who were so openly and disgustingly discriminated against. Good luck in life Angus. Keep being true to who you are. Individuality is a great thing!
The headmaster of the school, Matthew Maruff, spoke with the Herald Sun in an attempt to defend himself.
“These are our standards and I am not going to apologise for that,” he said. "It’s not about self expression—he got it wrong on the night." As to the idea that this was a homophobic move, Maruff said that was "just rubbish."
Maruff also praised Angus for being a "much loved" student and "great leader." That leadership part makes sense: Angus's rousing Facebook post has all the signs of a 21st century leader.