"This isn't about me anymore," Wilkinson said from the podium at a school board meeting. "It's about a discriminatory, sexist policy that needs to be changed."
After getting suspended from school in the west Texas town of Clyde, Wilkinson posted a video where he broke down in tears explaining what happened to him and providing contact information for the school.
The video went viral and he started a Change.org petition to change the school policy. The school's dress code forbids boys from wearing makeup and nail polish but has no such ban on girls.
"I got ISS (in school suspension) for having my nails painted," he wrote last month. "I was told that I will continue to get ISS until I take them off. It's a complete double standard because girls are allowed to paint and get their nails done."
Wilkinson delivered the same message just as forcefully at the school board meeting.
"Why is it against dress code for a man to be comfortable with his masculinity and defy the gender norms society has imposed on us?" Wilkinson questioned the board, noting they had taken away his education over the dispute. "Why is it harmful for me to wear nail polish? If it's not harmful for girls to wear it, why is it harmful for males?"
He pointed out how the double-standard damages LGBTQ+ students, and challenged the board to be open to change and accepting of ideas that are at odds with their traditional beliefs.
"Traditional values are great, but change is inevitable," he said. "Diversity is what makes this country so beautiful."
The school board did not change its policy, instead noting that the dress code is reviewed each year and they see no reason to take a look at the problem now.
Superintendent Kenny Berry issued a statement saying he expected Wilkinson and all other students to follow the rules.