The all-male Morehouse College, one of the nation's most prestigious historically black colleges has banned the wearing of women's clothing, makeup, high heels and purses. The new policy is part of a larger dress code launched this week that administrators call its "Appropriate Attire Policy". The code was reportedly endorsed by the campus' sole gay student group, administrators tell CNN.
The policy also bans wearing hats in buildings, pajamas in public, do-rags, sagging pants, sunglasses in class and walking barefoot on campus. However, it is the ban on cross-dressing that has brought national attention to the small historically African-American college. The dress-wearing ban is aimed at a small part of the private college's 2,700-member student body, said Dr. William Bynum, vice president for Student Services.
"We are talking about five students who are living a gay lifestyle that is leading them to dress a way we do not expect in Morehouse men," he said. Before the school released the policy, Bynum said, he met with Morehouse Safe Space, the campus' gay organization. "We talked about it and then they took a vote," he said. "Of the 27 people in the room, only three were against it."
Last week on Facebook, one Morehouse student posted an update that said school security "escorted" a gay student from the cafeteria who was wearing Uggs. While that might be a fashion crime in itself, the boots are made for men and women.
The celebrated "Morehouse Man" has included several generations of black leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Julian Bond and Spike Lee. The 141-year-old Atlanta college has a past steeped in religion, tradition and
masculinity and has struggled to address homosexuality. The College has had always a thriving yet mostly closeted black gay subculture. Morehouse has seen several
well-publicized cases of homophobia, harassment and anti-gay violence
in recent years. Only weeks ago, a staffer was fired for their part in an anti-gay chain email. Previous administrations have been accused of not taking the cases seriously.
More on Morehouse:
Los Angeles Times Examines Homophobia at Morehouse
Morehouse Fires Employee Over Anti Gay Email Rant
Pictures From Black Gay Wedding Spurs Hateful E-Campaign
Judge Reduces Morehouse Sentence