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UK: Cambridge removes gender-based dress code for graduating students

President of university’s LGBT group says change is ‘sensible’ and ‘well overdue’

Cambridge University will depart from a gender-based dress code for graduation ceremonies. Credit:

The University of Cambridge has revised its dress code for graduation ceremonies, the change meaning that men won’t be required to wear trouser suits, while women won’t have to wear skirts, dresses or suits, Pink News reports.

An Aug 9 piece on The Student Journals notes that the change, which comes into effect for the 2013/14 academic year, will allow graduating students to “dress in a manner befitting their personal identity, rather than an outdated system where attire is dictated to them in a way that reinforces a culture of gender binaries.”

The new guidelines have yet to be published online.

Charlie Bell, president of the Cambridge University Student’s Union LGBT+, says the change was readily embraced.

“The ease with which we were able to pass this through council shows how sensible the university is, and how much on the side of students the administration is. This is clearly a sensible decision and one which is well overdue.”

Still, Bells says, more needs to be done.

Sarah Gibson, a trans representative for LGBT+, agrees.

“Much more is needed throughout the university to support and include transgender students. The vast majority of staff lack all but the most basic knowledge about trans people."