Constance is 18. And she was brave enough to stand up to her school's 'all dates must be of the opposite gender' prom rule and ask to bring her girlfriend. Oh, and she wanted to wear a tuxedo rather than a dress.
The school said no.
Constance got in touch with the ACLU, and with the threat of a lawsuit on their hands, instead of allowing the two girls to attend the prom together, the Itawamba Agricultural High School in Mississippi CANCELED the entire prom. For everyone.
And now, kids are going up to Constance and telling her she ruined their senior year.
But it's not Constance who is at fault.
The school is acting childishly in order to defend their discrimination, and their move not only acts to alienate two GLBTQ teens from the overall school community, but has forced Constance to be the adult. She has to stand up for her right to attend her High School prom with the date of her choice. To be Real about who she is and who she loves. And I applaud her for that.
The school's excuse? The controversy has become a "distraction" to the educational process.
But what they're missing is that this is a TEACHABLE moment. And right now, I think the school needs to hear our voices. Because what they have done isn't okay. And they need to learn that.
Wanna take action?
You can sign this petition over at change.org
Wanna do more? How about organizing your GSA to write a joint letter to the school board members, the superintendent, and the principal? Or write them yourself. (Think about what you're trying to accomplish in the letter. Are you trying to change minds or express anger? What outcome would you hope your letter accomplishes?)
Board MembersNow when the school initially said they hoped some private party steps in and hosts the prom, that made me think they had a plan in place to have the prom at a private venue, hosted by some parents, that would allow them to discriminate against Constance and prevent her from attending with her girlfriend, since it would be a private event.
Eddie Hood, email@example.com
Jack Nichols, firstname.lastname@example.org
Harold Martin, email@example.com
Clara Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tony Wallace, email@example.com
Trae Wiygul, firstname.lastname@example.org
But interestingly enough, the opposite has happened, and a businessman in New Orleans has offered to host a GLBTQ-friendly prom for everyone (including Constance and her girlfriend) at one of his hotels.
It will be interesting to see what ultimately happens with the lawsuit, and where and if their Prom happens. But you know what makes me hopeful?
What Constance said when asked about how hard this has been:
"The fact that this will help people later on, that's what's helping me to go on."
And it will.
Go, Constance! Go!