Monday, March 15, 2010

No Lesbians At Prom: Constance McMillen Wanted To Take Her Girlfriend to the Prom. Her High School CANCELLED the Prom rather than let her do it.


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 Members

Eddie Hood, a082315@allstate.com

Jack Nichols, jnichols@itawamba.k12.ms.us

Harold Martin, hmartin@itawamba.k12.ms.us

Clara Brown, cbrown@network-one.come

Tony Wallace, twallace@nexband.com


Superintendent

tmcneece@itawamba.k12.ms.us


Principal

Trae Wiygul, twiygul@itawamba.k12.ms.us
Now 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.

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!

Namaste,
Lee

8 comments:

fairyhedgehog said...

I can't sign the petition - you need to be in the US - but I do support it. What a cop-out, cancelling the prom and passing the blame onto the girl who made a reasonable request.

Adrienne said...

@fairyhedgehog - right next to the ZIP code box is a link that says "Intl". Click that, and you'll get an option to select a country.

I'm Canadian and I was able to sign.

fairyhedgehog said...

Thanks, Adrienne, I didn't spot that!

Brian said...

I am so proud of this young woman. (and correspondingly disgusted with the administration of that high school). Remind me again, who are the adults here?

kittens not kids said...

signed, sealed, delivered. I have to say huge props to Constance, but also to Sean Cummings, who seems to be quite a big deal in New Orleans. I hope he's able to host a prom for this school run by morons, and I think we ought to commend and support him (and his businesses, of course) for this fantastic gesture of support. It cuts the legs out from under the prom-cancelling jackanapes, and provides a pretty awesome prom-alternative to (hopefully) take the pressure off brave Constance.

jlr said...

Check out this website, where lesbians who have taken their girlfriends to prom are standing up to be counted: http://www.autostraddle.com/lesbian-prom-37132/

It makes me so happy to see all these wonderful photos from all over the country.

Angie said...

Have you seen the latest on this issue? The parents set up a fake prom to send Constance and her girlfriend to, plus a few other "undesirables" including a couple of kids with learning disabilities, while all the "normal" kids went to a secret prom elsewhere.

Wasn't one of the reasons the judge in the case declined to force the district to hold a prom and let Constance go because some of the parents were holding a private prom and she'd be able to go to that? Unless I'm misremembering, there should be a contempt of court charge in here for somebody. :(

http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/04/05/ACLU_Investigating_Fake_Prom/

Angie

Lee Wind said...

Hi Angie, Yeah, I heard. Hideous. I suspected as much when I heard there would be a "private" prom.
will blog more on Tuesday,
thanks for the link!
Namaste,
Lee