Students of Oxford University no longer have to wear gender-specific clothing for formal occasions at the school thanks to an amendment to the school’s dress code, reports the BBC. That means when the new law comes into effect on Aug. 4, men can attend formal events, including exams, wearing skirts and stockings and women can go in suits and bow ties. The rules were amended after the student union passed a motion put forward by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer Society, which voiced concerns that the school’s “existing regulations did not serve the interests of transgender students”, said a university spokesman. While the students still have to ensure they’re dressed “appropriately” for the occasion, they no longer have to ensure their manner of dress is distinctive to a particular gender.
Oxford’s old rules on academic dress, called subfusc (Latin for ‘of a dark or dusky color’), required men to wear a dark suit and socks, black shoes, a white shirt and collar, and a white bow tie; women were required to wear a white blouse, black tie, black skirt or trousers, black stockings or tights, black shoes, and a black ribbon tied in a bow at the neck. Previously, when transgender students wanted to wear academic clothing of the opposite sex, writes the BBC, they had to get an exemption from university proctors, who had the authority to punish those who broke the rules, handing out fines and even expulsion notices.