Alex Blaze

School cancels prom to keep lesbians out

Filed By Alex Blaze | March 11, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Constance McMillen, gender, lesbian, LGBT, prom, queer, school, sexuality

It seems "If we can't keep the gays out then we're just going to take our ball and go home" mentality is sweeping the nation. First Catholic Charities cancels health care benefits for all partners of employees because they didn't want to cover gays, and now a high school in Mississippi canceled prom for everyone because a lesbian asked to go in a tux and bring a female date:

A northern Mississippi school district will not be hosting a high school prom this spring after a lesbian student sought to attend with her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo.[...]

The student, 18-year-old high school senior Constance McMillen, said the cancellation was retaliation for her efforts to bring her girlfriend, also a student, to the April 2 dance.

"A bunch of kids at school are really going to hate me for this, so in a way it's really retaliation," McMillen told The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson. Calls to McMillen by The Associated Press late Wednesday went unanswered.

The school in question actually had an explicitly stated straight-only policy for its prom that the ACLU was challenging with McMillen:

School policy requires that senior prom dates be of the opposite sex. The ACLU of Mississippi had given the district until Wednesday to change that policy, arguing that banning same-sex prom dates violated McMillen's constitutional rights.

Instead, the school board met and issued a statement announcing it wouldn't host the event at Itawamba County Agricultural High School in Fulton, "due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events."

One of her classmates is quoted in the article: "it's kind of ridiculous that they can't let her wear the tuxedo and it all be over with." Indeed it is. I know that educators have to lay down the law and make rules, but telling a girl that she has to go to a romantic event with a man or go alone is trying a little to much to control her and her sex life.

I'm guessing the school's lawyer told them that the ACLU had a point and would probably win and so they threw this little hissy-fit, but, seriously, they could have just accepted a student at their school as she is instead of trying to make her into a dress-wearing straight girl.

Update: And, of course, McMillen's going to have to take the brunt of the school's petty decision:

Constance McMillen says she didn't want to go back, but her father told her she needed to face her classmates and school officials in Fulton. McMillen says one student told her, "Thanks for ruining my senior year."


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This is beyond sad, it is simply wearyingly tedious, another exercise in attempting to scapegoat, isolate, pathologise and sacpagoat our youth..

and then they come back at us for the suicide and depression rates amomngst our young people.

Ms McMillen, we older women salute your bravery and stand with you, one of the younnger of our sisters and out next generation...

Just in case you would like to get involved...

Over at lezgetreal.com they have an article up about various Ellen D. fans trying to start a campaign to get Ellen to throw a Prom for Constance McMillen and her school. See link below.

http://lezgetreal.com/?p=28144

Oh, LezGetReal, yeah I was banned from that site last month.

But if you want to get involved, it should be with the local Mississippi LGBT youth group. They're already having a Prom in Constance's community for all LGBT students & allies in Mississippi. http://www.mssafeschools.org/

If someone could maybe let LezGetReal know, that'd be great.

Constance McMillen rocks. I just hope the other students understand it's their creepy school district which is doing this to them and not Constance. Any attempts to encourage throwing a "straights only" private prom smells of Jim Crow. Disgusting.

Regan DuCasse | March 11, 2010 4:48 PM

"Segregation NOW, segregation Tomarrah, Segregation FOHEVAH!" -George Wallace

Some things, never fucking change!

Actually, George Wallace did change and campaigned hard against racism from a wheelchair for many years.
I don't think that this can be compared to racial segregation in any constructive way. This is not being justified as separate but equal or anything like that it just excludes and tries to deny existence of these kids and results from a different cultural institution.

Some things never change, only the targets: The State of Mississippi has the highest number of lynchings for the South, 574, as well as the highest for the United States.

The High School has taken their web site down, btw

I couldn't find the site for the HS, either, but I found this info on the site for the school district, just in case anyone wants to give them their opinion:

Itawamba Agricultural High School
9th-12th Grade -- Principal: Trae Wiygul
twiygul@itawamba.k12.ms.us

Itawamba County School District Office
Superintendent: Teresa McNeece
tmcneece@itawamba.k12.ms.us

http://www.itawambacountyschools.com/schools.htm

Jan 23, 2010 | Posted by: roboblogger

Anti-bullying bills pushed by lawmakers
Full story: The Clarion-Ledger

A north Mississippi lawmaker said an Itawamba County mother whose son had been bullied at school prompted him to sponsor a bill that calls for reporting and punishing such harassment.

Regan DuCasse | March 11, 2010 11:25 PM

Rob...try not to be so literal, okay? The point of the school's exercise does have SIMILAR enough context to segregating gay children from or within the educations they have a right too.
Or exploiting a situation to make conditions in that school so difficult that Ms. McMillan is at risk.

The target might not be the same, but the desired results are: that there be no gay children around to trouble the water.

George Wallace did a lot of damage before he got religion on the point of thinking he was about to meet his maker.
He was one of millions whose legacy isn't quite gone. Especially in public office.
And obviously there are places in Mississippi all too happy to continue more of the same.

Just another 'morning in America'...

The Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition is organizing a "Second Chance Prom" if anyone would like to donate.

http://www.mssafeschools.org/

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with MSSC, I just feel terrible about what's happening to the LGBT students there.

Every day, I am more and more astounded at how much apparent power we wield over our poor hapless (and apparently ineffectual) straight brothers and sisters. Who that such a supposedly tiny minority of the population could bring such events as a senior prom to a complete and utter standstill? Who knew that our military lived in such fear and trepidation of finding their skivvies around their ankles on a nightly basis? Who knew that we had the power of Satan to inflict our lust-driven, godless desires on the weak and innocent? Who knew that I could find such easy cartoon fodder? LOL

Meghan Stabler Meghan Stabler | March 12, 2010 10:24 AM

Constance was on CBS this morning, along with ACLU, to talk about the cancellation of the prom. She is such a strong and mature teen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kafNkX1At8

Ms. McMillan did not cause the school to cancel the prom, it was the board of directors who made that decision. She was only going to buy tickets for the prom, contributing to the school, and dressing the way she wanted to dress. Was there a dress code? Besides being formal wear. If anyone wants to blame someone for the cancelation, point their fingers to the school board. Ms. McMillan can't cancel an event at the school, especially something like the prom.