Both male and female students will be allowed to wear skirts at a school in Taiwan after it announced plans to drop gender-specific uniforms on Wednesday, a move LGBT+ campaigners said was a boost for gender equality.
The change, a rare move in Asia where traditional values often prevail, came after male students and teachers at Banqiao Senior High School near Taipei donned skirts in May during a week-long campaign seeking to break down gender stereotypes.
The school's decision is seen as reinforcing the self-ruled island's reputation as a beacon of liberalism in Asia, which became the first place in the region to legalize same-sex marriage in May.
Under the current guidelines, male students are required to wear trousers and skirts for female students, but the new dress code - to take effect in the new academic year from August 30 - will remove any mention of specific gender.
"It is to boost the students' autonomy in choosing their uniforms while respecting their rights," the Banqiao Senior High School said in a statement to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The school, which is located in New Taipei City, just outside the capital, has over 2,000 students aged between 16 and 18.
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Taiwanese education ministry officials were quoted in local media as welcoming the school's decision.
"This is a progressive step that embraces diversity," said Du Sih-cheng, the policy advocacy director at the Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association, a non-profit that campaigns for LGBT+ rights.
"It will especially gives transgender teenagers the freedom to choose what they want to wear in schools," he said by phone from Taipei, urging more schools to follow suit.
A global campaign to push for gender-neutral school uniforms has gained traction in recent months.
Mexico City's mayor last month announced that students can decide whether to wear skirts or trousers to school, stirring a controversy in the socially conservative predominantly Catholic country.
In Wales, the government said this month that it would no longer have separate uniform codes for boys and girls under a new policy due to come into force from September 1.