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Lesbian Teen Banned from Prom

I'm sure a lot of you have heard about this story by now but I had to blog about it. Apparently the school district of Itawamba County in Mississippi would not allow Constance McMillen, 18, to attend her prom  wearing a tuxedo and with her girlfriend. Constance was told by her assistant principal that she may be able to get away with escorting her girlfriend if she were to bring a bunch of guys...you know to cancel out / hide their lesbianism, or something. The superintendent suggested that the girls attend the prom separately, wearing dresses, and avoid each other completely lest they "push people's buttons."

Now this would be repulsive enough if these were merely the suggestions of misguided authority figures. But the fact is, the district actually has an established rule against same-sex dates at the prom. And then it got worse. The school district decided to cancel the prom altogether, hoping to avoid the controversy, and now criticism, and encouraged parents to throw a privately funded prom.

So now I'm sure kids at that school are looking at this girl and thinking, "You're the reason I'm not allowed to have a prom, something I've been planning for and looking forward to for a very long time." If there wasn't enough animosity towards Constance already, as it seems like there might have been in this very accepting town of hers, I'm sure cancelling the prom in her name did it.

When reading this story I was disturbed for pretty obvious reasons. Everybody else gets to take whoever the hell they want to prom...why should the gender of either party change this previously established rule? As Constance said, "I want my prom experience to be the same as all of the other students, a night to remember with the person I'm dating." It's just plain discrimination...LOVE, PEOPLE. LOVE.

It also reminded me of the documentary Prom Night in Mississippi. For those who haven't seen it, the general premise is in the Spring of 2008 Morgan Freeman offered to pay for the prom of Mississippi's Charleston High School under one condition: that it be racially integrated. Yeah, 2008 and this school had separate proms based on race.

Basically, all the high school kids agreed to this arrangement, but the parents of this town were still pissed off. In the end, many parents of the white students decided to throw their own white prom. Which is something I suspect may happen in Constance's town...except here we replace racism with homophobia.

Fortunately, Constance has the American Civil Liberties Union on her side and is fighting back. I'll be following this story and sending positive thoughts towards Constance.



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Julie Zeilinger
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