Photo: Sherman HS’s logo | By J. David Goodman, New York Times / Yahoo | A school district in the conservative town of Sherman, Texas, made national headlines last week when it put a stop to a high school production of the musical “Oklahoma!” after a transgender student was cast in a lead role.

The district’s administrators decided, and communicated to parents, that the school would cast only students “born as females in female roles and students born as males in male roles.” Not only did several transgender and nonbinary students lose their parts, but so too did cisgender girls cast in male roles. Publicly, the district said the problem was the profane and sexual content of the 1943 musical.

At one point, the theater teacher, who objected to the decision, was escorted out of the school by the principal. The set, a sturdy mock-up of a settler’s house that took students two months to build, was demolished.

But then something even more unusual happened in Sherman, a rural college town that has been rapidly drawn into the expanding orbit of Dallas to its south. . . .
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But the controversy over “Oklahoma!” came as a surprise. The musical had been selected and approved last school year, casting was completed in August and more than 60 students in the cast and crew — as well as dozens of dancers — had been preparing for months. Performances were scheduled for early December.

Max, 17, had been cast in a minor role. But then, in late October, one of the leads was cut from the production, and Max got the part, the biggest he had ever had. He was elated.

Days later, his father, Phillip Hightower, got a call from the high school principal, who told him that Max could not have the part because, under a new policy, no students could play roles that differed from their sex at birth. “He was not rude or disrespectful, but he was very curt and to the point,” Hightower recalled.
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Photo: Sherman High School – whose mascot is a “Bearcat” – “Bear” and “cat” – I mean, talk about ironic!

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