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Cross-dressing causes controversy in Camp Hill

Reported by: Kyle Rogers

HARRISBURG -- When it comes to cross-dressing in school to raise awareness on transgender issues, some parents in a Cumberland County school district do not think it is appropriate.

As part of National Transgender Week, members of Camp Hill High School's gay-straight alliance asked their classmates to dress up as the opposite sex.

It was an announcement over the school's PA system -- which is heard by students at the middle school -- that concerned Heidi Apa McDonald, the mother of two.

"I have no problem with this club," McDonald said. "The problem is there was an announcement of a sensitive subject like this going out to 11-year-olds through seniors."

McDonald, as well as other moms expressed their concerns. She wanted parents to know this was being planned on Friday so other parents would know what is happening. McDonald said she never heard from a school administrator on the matter by a letter.

But for Hannah Wright and Briana Deane, who met with concerned moms on Thursday for a media interview, they followed proper procedures for a school.
Wright, who identifies as gender-fluid, said the cause is personal for her, but did not expect the attention.

"People aren't going to be inappropriate, people aren't going to wear very, very short skirts or they'll get in trouble," said Wright. 

In what's voluntary participation, the two students hope it will just bring more attention to the serious subject.

Stephanie Jack, the mother of student who heard the announcement of school believes the awareness campaign isn't suited for a classroom setting by being a distraction. However, she feared some students would participate only to make light of the issue.

"I think it'll hurt the kids who maybe are struggling with their identity and aren't out in the club because they're struggling with it," Jack said.

While both parents told CBS 21 News that it is not an issue of accepting others, the two girls said when athletes dress up as cheerleaders for school functions, such as a pep rally, hardly any get any concerns.

The schools superintendent said parents have expressed concerns, but the district approved the voluntary event for students since the students followed proper procedures.

The two girls said they hope for a large attendance to help raise awareness. 

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