Question: Petitioning for a Tux

Meike asks…

I’m in a college bell choir. The guys wear tuxes and the girls wear identical dresses. I’ve put up with my bell choir dress for two years now, and this year I won’t have to since I’m studying abroad for the year; however, when I return I want to wear a tux for my senior year. I was thinking of asking my director about this first, and while I don’t want to I might go to the college administration if my director doesn’t allow me to wear a tux.

Has anyone else gone through similar situations?

Please post your response in the comments below.

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Posted by on July 12th, 2010 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 9 comments »

9 Responses to “Question: Petitioning for a Tux”

  1. Anonymous

    I’m approaching a similar situation. I go to a very binary, very conservative private high school. All the boys wear tuxes for prom and all the girls wear white dresses. I’ve shown reluctance to wear the dress, and I’m going to have to ask special permission to not wear one. I don’t really want to wear a tux- maybe a mismatched pinstripe suit- but we’re not allowed to wear colors either. I don’t want to make a fuss, I just want to be comfortable, but I don’t want to ask for special treatment, so I don’t know what to do either…

    I guess you could either wear it without asking permission (as you shouldn’t have to in the first place) and see how that goes, or ask and accept you may be turned down.



  2. Meike

    The only problem is the outfits are special-ordered, I think. The dresses are, at least.

    Good luck with your prom!


  3. j

    As a young person I had a very bad experience in insisting on a tux for prom. My mother returned my prom tickets when I refused to wear the gown she selected, even though my father had approved my wearing his old tux.

    I am writing this because I hope that 20 years later you all have better luck. I wish today I had simply lied and gone and changed.


  4. Ben

    Man, I hate this.

    I’m a huge choir nerd, and I know exactly where you’re coming from. Choir is one of the biggest areas of concern for me in my genderqueeridness, because it’s so binary. There’s really no wiggle room. I sing alto, though my voice sits naturally in the tenor range, and they squish me into those dresses every concert, though I’d much rather be in a tux as well.

    Anyways, I don’t see what harm could befall the choir if you wore a tux instead of a dress as long as you stood close to the guys section or the choir was in mixed formation. It would probably not go over so well with the conductor if one of his first row sopranos threw off the pattern. It wouldn’t look very professional. That would be the only complaint I could see anyone making and getting away with.

    In my experiance, arts people tend to be much more flexible when it come to bending the gender binary. If you just walk up to your conductor and tell him frankly that you’d feel more comfortable in a tux and why, it’ll probably all work out for the best. Good luck!


  5. Rusty

    Ask, and if they say “yes”, Wohoo!
    If they say no, you could borrow a friend’s tux and just show up in it.

    Or you could plant the idea by going up to him before you leave and saying “when I get back, mind if I wear a tux instead? I’d appreciate it.”

    And if it’s “no”, though I can’t imagine it is, just show up in a borrowed tux. Or just wear pajamas and a cape until they let you.

    Where are you going abroad?



  6. Sarah-Sophia

    Actually, I totally understand. My situation is different yet similar. I’d feel much better if they’d let me sing with the “guys” section. I actually sing their part much better. I go to a very conservative high school and they pretty much seperate us in two groups. The guys and the girls for choir. Next year I might get the nerve up to ask the chorus teacher if I can sing with the guys. I don’t see why it would be a problem because I actually do sing their part MUCH better.


  7. Meike

    @Rusty: I’m off to Germany starting in October. Also, I like the pajamas and cape idea, maybe I’ll do that if they say no. :)

    And @Ben, it shouldn’t look unprofessional, but that was an angle I hadn’t previously looked at. However, since it is a bell choir, we’re all behind the tables and spread out anyways. But I’ll ask my director anyways and see what she says.


  8. Meike

    It looks like people are done with suggestions, which is what I was looking for–thanks so much to everyone who wrote in bits of advice!


  9. Anonymous

    I had a lot of issues when I tried to request a tux instead of a dress for my concert band in high school. The lady in charge of our fittings got really mad at me for even suggesting the idea…4 years later I still really wish I owned a tux.


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