Out of respect for transgender students, three high schools in Maryland's Montgomery County have begun using a single color for graduation robes to make them gender neutral.

The Washington Post (http://wapo.st/1MhQ4rZ) reports Damascus, Sherwood and Walter Johnson High are no longer using separate colors for males and females.

At least five other schools in the Washington, D.C., suburb have decided to make the change next year.

Principals say letters from students played a role in the decision.

The change comes amid growing awareness of the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students nationwide.

There is no district policy about cap and gown colors in Montgomery County. Some schools have long had a single color for all graduates, but the dual-color scheme has been popular at others.

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Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com