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"Thanks for ruining my senior year."
March 11, 2010 11:16 PM   Subscribe

High school prom cancelled for fear of lesbians.
posted by cronholio (133 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Here in Canada there is a big rainbow flag sticker on the front door of my son's elementary school that says "All families are welcome here."
posted by KokuRyu at 11:19 PM on March 11, 2010 [102 favorites]


Man, I wish there had been lesbians at my prom, but at least we had a prom. These poor kids are now going to be missing out on both lesbians at the prom, and prom itself.
posted by killdevil at 11:22 PM on March 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


This was a hoax by the No Men. Prom wasn't really cancelled. Of course a school wouldn't do something so nasty and mean spirited. Please retract this post and make clear that this was a hoax by the No Men and we did not think that anyone would believe that a school would do something so extreme and hateful. Thanks!
posted by andoatnp at 11:29 PM on March 11, 2010 [41 favorites]


I just didn't go to my prom and went to my county's queer prom instead. Separate but equal? No, separate but vastly superior. I heard there was not a single man dressed in drag at my high school's prom.
posted by little light-giver at 11:29 PM on March 11, 2010 [13 favorites]


Maybe I'm too far removed from high school rituals to see this clearly, but from what I remember of the guys at the all-boys Catholic school my Mom worked at, this headline should have been

Prom Lesbians: a feature, not a bug
posted by biddeford at 11:30 PM on March 11, 2010 [11 favorites]


The Prom Lesbians: also a great band name.
posted by bicyclefish at 11:36 PM on March 11, 2010 [18 favorites]


The most objectionable thing about this is the way the school can arbitrarily shift the boundary between what is public and private. From the last link. "School officials now hope the prom will be a privately funded event." If it is an official school function at a public school then they can't discriminate but if it is private they can. What do you want to bet that the next year it will be back at the High School and a school event?
posted by Tashtego at 11:37 PM on March 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


By the way, even though this was a hoax by the No Men, the ACLU is suing to force the school to hold the prom: "ACLU Sues Mississippi School That Canceled Prom Rather Than Let Lesbian Couple Attend."
posted by andoatnp at 11:38 PM on March 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


If it is an official school function at a public school then they can't discriminate but if it is private they can. What do you want to bet that the next year it will be back at the High School and a school event?

You would have to give some incredible odds to get anyone to take that bet. These people want to turn high schools, and America in general, into country clubs. I'm sure they'd have no problem letting a gay man decorate the place beforehand.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 11:46 PM on March 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Lesbian Proms? Blame Sis Porn
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:51 PM on March 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


This was a hoax by the No Men. Prom wasn't really cancelled. Of course a school wouldn't do something so nasty and mean spirited. Please retract this post and make clear that this was a hoax by the No Men and we did not think that anyone would believe that a school would do something so extreme and hateful. Thanks!
posted by andoatnp at 4:29 PM on March 12 [4 favorites +] [!]


[citation needed]
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:00 AM on March 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Constance McMillen is really freaking brave, is all I have to say about this. Imagine having your whole school blaming you (wrongly, of course) for prom being cancelled.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:05 AM on March 12, 2010 [21 favorites]


McMillen almost didn't return to school Thursday for fear of retribution by her classmates who had just lost their prom because of her. "My daddy told me that I needed to show them that I'm still proud of who I am," McMillen said. "The fact that this will help people later on, that's what's helping me to go on."

A lesbian Rosa Parks. (Civil rights are civil rights.)

Brave girl. That took some real courage. Storm the beach courage. Brings a tear to my eye - and makes me proud to be an American. Really. Yes, we are still have (more than) our fair share of ignorant bigots, but if we're also raising kids like that then we're doing something right.

(Also makes me want to return --- except in my adopted home in Sweden this would never have happened in the first place.)

Good for her and good for her daddy. Hope I can be a daddy like that.
posted by three blind mice at 12:08 AM on March 12, 2010 [35 favorites]


[citation needed]

here
posted by juv3nal at 12:11 AM on March 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Not for fear of lesbians - out of safety concerns.

Because lesbians crave braaaaiiinnsssss.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:14 AM on March 12, 2010 [15 favorites]


One must understand that Jackson does not have any budget for emergency lesbian removal. In Boston we're used to the odd foot or two of lesbians materializing overnight, even in March, and to seeing the astrological glyph of Venus hung among the snaking winds and vector fields of the weatherman's chart. "It looks like... a rough drive ahead," he says, dancing around the word. And we stamp our feet, and moan at the skies, and throw our salt and close down all the schools; but soon we are making lesbian-castles and lesbian-men and -women, and pelting each other with fistfuls of lesbian, and in short enjoying the momentary wonder of solid water and downed clouds.
posted by kid ichorous at 12:19 AM on March 12, 2010 [62 favorites]


What would be great is if a prominent lesbian went to town and said "make the prom LGBT friendly and I'll pay for it." Like Morgan Freeman did with the school with racially segregated proms. Also in Mississippi. In 2008.
posted by ALongDecember at 12:19 AM on March 12, 2010 [27 favorites]


Not entirely sure how American secondary schools got into the business of hosting romantic parties explicitly for couples.

But it's fun to watch the cognitive dissonance sparks fly when this tradition collides with official America's teen sexuality taboos.

[Personally, I'd just tell America's high schools to swear off the proms and football until they're no longer below the OECD average in math and science education. But that's just me.]
posted by Dimpy at 12:31 AM on March 12, 2010 [22 favorites]


Holy crap, ALongDecember! 2008, really?
posted by Harald74 at 1:03 AM on March 12, 2010


Lesbians at the prom?

Just make sure someone explains that to Mr. Lonely Hearts Club when he gets turned down after asking for a dance. "It's not you, it's me" is actually the truth.

Other than that, where does the school get off telling people who they can date? Talk about backwards thinking.
posted by bwg at 1:30 AM on March 12, 2010


A School Memo (PDF) given to students started this all. It said that each student may invite one guest that met four criteria. The last of the four criteria was:

"Must be of the opposite sex."

This was an odd thing to add. It's common for straight girls who couldn't find a prom date to attend with other girls in the same situation. Unless they were trying to discriminate against unpopular girls (unlikely), that last criterion was a deliberate stab at homosexuals.

The ACLU fired off this letter:

ACLU Complaint on Behalf of Constance McMillen (PDF)

The Itawamba County School District replied by canceling the prom:

Original Itawamba County School District Statement (PDF):

"...we feel at this time that it is in best interest of the Itawamba County School District, after taking into consideration the education, safety and well being of our students, that the Itawamba County School District not host a junior/senior prom at Itawamba Agricultural High School."

Education? Is tolerance not on the curriculum? Safety? Were they afraid that other students might catch "the gay?"

In the same statement, they said:

"It is our hope that private citizens will organize an event for the juniors and seniors."

To me, this is the most disgusting part of this letter. The so-called "private proms" let schools in Georgia hold segregated proms even to this day!

I am glad the ACLU sued the school district and the school: Complaint Filed in US District Court (PDF). I hope they sue them into oblivion. And I'm glad Constance and her father stood up for their rights. For those who want to support her on Facebook: Let Constance Take Her Girlfriend to Prom.

Hopefully, this incident will shine a bright light on the cockroach that is segregation. Be it based on ethnicity or sexual preference, segregation is a pest that continues to fester in small towns across the nation. Private proms may follow the letter of our civil rights laws but they spit on the intent and spirit of those laws. We need to root out and exterminate these pests wherever they may be. If we let them multiply in our nooks and crannies, the cockroaches will eventually take over the kitchen.
posted by stringbean at 1:54 AM on March 12, 2010 [17 favorites]


Proms are fusty, retrograde affairs anyway, aren't they? Maybe they should all be cancelled.
posted by Phanx at 2:01 AM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


"It is our hope that private citizens will organize an event for the juniors and seniors."

Yeah? Well I hope some GLBT group with money and connections starts funding an annual gay-friendly high-school dance and welcome to the real world party in that little town with some great out-of-town entertainment. There's a community college there with an events center.
posted by pracowity at 2:22 AM on March 12, 2010


My country,' tis of thee,
sweet land of liberty

ftfy
posted by HuronBob at 3:03 AM on March 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


Prom cancelled? What a shame. All the kids worked so hard on their duct tape prom outfits...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:22 AM on March 12, 2010


Jesus, it's getting to be like Fark in this thread.

Aside from the essential WTF nature of the school management's mean-spirited, faux-moralistic decision, it troubles me that there are some students who really can't put the blame where it belongs and who seem bent on making Ms McKillen and her girlfriend pay for it.

Good on them both- it takes a hell of a lot of strength to do something like this anywhere, let alone in high school.

(Also, Roger Ebert gets it.)
posted by psychostorm at 3:50 AM on March 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


Even if the prom is cancelled, it's great to see that seventh-grade recess is still going strong in this thread.

I love the guest criteria. A junior, who could conceivably be as young as 15-16 if (s)he skipped a grade, can bring a college-age guest, who could be as old as 23-24, and that's just fine, but age-appropriate same-sex dates, whether platonic or romantic, are strictly verboten.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:32 AM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, I'm kinda tired of this.

And I'm a straight-as white boy from Adelaide.

I honestly don't understand why it's so offensive that girls like girls, or guys like guys.

Also (and this has nothinhg to do with the point I've just made(, I've spent so so long making sure that my drunk mind didn't mes sup those fist two sencences.

I mean three sentencrces.
posted by twirlypen at 4:35 AM on March 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


This girl has guts. I admire her courage.
posted by orme at 5:00 AM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not for fear of lesbians - out of safety concerns.

Because lesbians crave braaaaiiinnsssss.


A creature requiring brains for nourishment would probably starve to death at that school district.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:02 AM on March 12, 2010 [28 favorites]


Anybody want to go in on a scholarship fund to send the girl either to MUW, Millsaps, or the hell out of Mississippi next year?
posted by Pollomacho at 5:03 AM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


MeTa.
posted by zarq at 5:11 AM on March 12, 2010


Dan Savage helpfully provides contact information for Itawamba school officials so that you can (respectfully) let them know how much of a distraction from the educational process they've created.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:15 AM on March 12, 2010


Its boggling the amount of effort ppl spend on worrying about who other people spend time with.
posted by MrLint at 5:40 AM on March 12, 2010


Also, the residents of the southeastern USA are still being dragged feet first into the twentieth century. News at half past a cow's ass.

Kindly cut this shit out and read up on the insane "legal" system in upstate New York. Idiocy is not limited to certain geographical regions, and those of us living in the south who work for civil rights and social justice would appreciate it if people kept that in mind.
posted by odinsdream at 5:43 AM on March 12, 2010 [39 favorites]


[bunch of comments removed - maybe try again?]
posted by jessamyn at 5:47 AM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


We just finished watching Metrosexuality last night, the rather dazzlingly bright and loud Channel 4 miniseries from Rikki Beadle-Blair, and while the storylines were pretty trite they were certainly well-threaded and nicely paced. What really moved us the most was the way sexuality, gender and race were portrayed -- not as problems, and not as something to be ignored, but simply as flavours. Flavours to be appreciated (or not) as something that makes life more interesting and more human. Not everyone likes chocolate or strawberry, but there's no reason to ban either flavour from the ice cream parlour... or the dance floor.

Sigh.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:50 AM on March 12, 2010


My daddy told me that I needed to show them that I'm still proud of who I am...

Three cheers for a damn fine parent!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:51 AM on March 12, 2010 [33 favorites]


"Thanks for ruining my senior year"

Maybe I'm just petty, but I get an incredible amount of joy at the thought of 'ruining' the senior year of these vapid classmates who are more concerned with a silly dance than violating McMillen's dignity.
posted by Adam_S at 5:57 AM on March 12, 2010 [17 favorites]


"Somebody said, 'Thanks for ruining my senior year.'" McMillen said.

Speaking as someone who was in the closet in high school and went to prom as a "straight guy," the Time Machine version of me would have been glad to thank her for "ruining" my senior year in defense of the right to be who you are and to be proud of it.
posted by blucevalo at 5:57 AM on March 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


When I was in high school kind of a long time ago it was totally normal (though not always desired) to go to prom with your same-sex friends. And certainly, some of those same-sex "friends" were more than friends, though in those days at my school they were all quite closeted.

My point being, not everyone is interested in, ready for, or able to date someone of the opposite sex for prom -- and if you are going to have prom, it should be open to everyone, whether or not you have an approved date.

Idiocy is not limited to certain geographical regions, and those of us living in the south who work for civil rights and social justice would appreciate it if people kept that in mind.</em

Yes, definitely. There's plenty of idiocy to go around in every part of the country, and I could imagine this same event happening in every state.

posted by Forktine at 6:02 AM on March 12, 2010


psychostorm: "(Also, Roger Ebert gets it.)"

Hah, awesome! I know there were at least a few girls at my school that went together, back in the day, as friends.

Reddit's had a few threads about this this week, and they're working on convincing Ellen to tackle the problem.
posted by graventy at 6:04 AM on March 12, 2010


Some people are born left handed, some people are born right handed. Either way is OK, let them be who they are, it's not a problem.
posted by Daddy-O at 6:04 AM on March 12, 2010


Phanx: "23Proms are fusty, retrograde affairs anyway, aren't they? Maybe they should all be cancelled."

They don't have to be. My daughter is 16 and she enjoys the dances at her school. Right now there is a vogue for the girls to wear retro cocktail dresses and the guys to wear bow ties. She attends a Performing Arts conservatory and there are lots of drama students and dancers and the school has no dress code and no dating rules. I wish all teenagers could attend such a fun, tolerant school.

I wish I was McMillen's mother. I would be so fierce, heads would roll. By acting like like such shits and placing the blame on her young shoulders the school authorities deserve the boot. Imagine the conversation that was held in the Principal's office: "We could let Constance show up with her little girlfriend so that all the other kids would have to watch them dancing together ...or we could cancel the whole thing and let everyone know she is to blame." "Oh I vote we cancel the whole thing. You start letting girls dance together and our kids are going to start thinking about sex. We can't have that."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:07 AM on March 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Why do schools care who students bring to prom? Never understood it. At our school, the big thing was that you couldn't bring someone who was a freshman or sophomore to the junior/senior prom. I brought my best friend from another school (a girl! Shocking!), as did plenty of other students, and one girl brought a man old enough to be her father, but thank goodness that senior-sophomore couple didn't get to spend their last year together in high school enjoying the senior prom!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:13 AM on March 12, 2010


Brings to mind the case of Aaron Fricke who successfully sued in federal district court (Fricke v. Lynch) his high school in R.I. for not allowing him to bring his boyfriend, Paul Guilbert, to the senior prom in 1980. The case has been used as precedent in similar cases. In 1981 Fricke wrote a book about the ordeal: Reflections of a Rock Lobster: A Story about Growing Up Gay.
posted by ericb at 6:26 AM on March 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


and if you are going to have prom, it should be open to everyone, whether or not you have an approved date.

Exactly. While I technically had a date for the senior prom, it was really a group of us who went. We rented a...trolley! (this was in Boston), which we were allowed to decorate, to take us to the hotel where the prom was. Lots of people went with friends rather than dates. I don't get why this high school's administrators are having such a touch time grokking that their behavior is stupid and antediluvian. Not to mention homophobic and sexist.
posted by rtha at 6:30 AM on March 12, 2010


I've never been prouder to be a Texan. Thanks, Mississippi!
posted by davelog at 6:39 AM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


[seriously folks - it would be great of we could keep the MeTa thread in MeTa and the discussion about this link/post here in this thread. here is another link to the metatalk thread.]
posted by jessamyn at 6:47 AM on March 12, 2010


Fucking Mississippi.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:52 AM on March 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Disregarding all questions about the prom, someone needs to take this brave young woman aside and quietly let her know that a self-made MySpace-style cell phone mirror photo isn't the best option to submit when the news media asks you for a photo to run along with the national headline story about you.

The photo in the Examiner, for example. Use that one. If I were the photo person at CBS News I'd have asked for a different shot. She will have enough people making fun of her already, using that image makes her look goofy and makes it easier to ignore her, write her off as an oddball, or think of the whole thing as funny.

The homophobes at the school also should be made to understand that throwing a huge fit about this did exactly what they didn't want to do: They hoped to make the issue go away. They made it into a much bigger deal. If they had simply allowed this student to bring her girlfriend to prom, a few local people might have been upset, rather than thousands nationwide. I'm sure the parents and taxpayers in the district will be happy as clams to pay for the school's legal team on this one. Way to go, school board. Have fun come re-election time.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:57 AM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


There were lesbians at my prom.
posted by delmoi at 7:02 AM on March 12, 2010


caution live frogs, the mirror photo is her Facebook profile picture and was probably lifted from there without her consent.

There were hetero girls who brought other girls to my school's 'prom', I wonder if that would have been allowed in this case.
posted by knapah at 7:09 AM on March 12, 2010


someone needs to take this brave young woman aside and quietly let her know that a self-made MySpace-style cell phone mirror photo isn't the best option to submit when the news media asks you for a photo to run along with the national headline story about you.

They may have actually just grabbed it off myspace.
posted by delmoi at 7:10 AM on March 12, 2010


Yes, please don't put the regional spin on this. I'm from the Southeast-iest part of the country you can get to, and we have a LBG-friendly high school with a gay-straight coalition and lots of really cool kids who get along without any regard to sexual preference, thanks.

I tweeted @TheEllenShow to suggest ALongDecember's fabulous idea. Ellen and her wife, Portia could fund the prom and attend as a couple. I'd love to go to that prom. It would totally rock. And we already know Ellen can dance.
posted by misha at 7:11 AM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile (that is, previously) in the not-so-deep South (although as Forktine points out, idiocy knows no borders):
1. New governor of VA quietly rewrites anti-discrimination law to exclude LGBT protections (about 3 weeks into office, 1 week after delivering the GOP SotU response)
2. New AG advises all public colleges & universities that their policies protecting LGBT individuals are therefore 'invalid' and unauthorized
3. Massive student-led, school-supported uprising
4. Governor releases 'directive' that sounds conciliatory, but actually only clarifies his belief that there is no legal justification for LGBT protections.
('actually' link is a self-link to my longish comment in the 'previously' post. i hope this isn't too much of a derail; it's also a civil-rights-of-students issue, and conversation in the previously thread was dying down.)
posted by unregistered_animagus at 7:15 AM on March 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


I ran into a lawyer mefite I know last night and we talked about this. She's been in touch with the ACLU to extend an invitation the girls and their parents to come out here (SFBayArea) for the queer prom that gets held in June. I reckon there'll be some fundraising going on if they accept.
posted by rtha at 7:18 AM on March 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


It really is sad how much hatred remains in this country, and especially at how it is tolerated b people who would otherwise think of themselves as not bigoted.

Here are some stories for Tupelo (a close larger city) and Jackson (which is the capital and I think the largest city in the state).
posted by caddis at 7:22 AM on March 12, 2010


Fucking Mississippi

What a great name for an interracial gay porn!
posted by Pollomacho at 7:22 AM on March 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


> McMillen almost didn't return to school Thursday for fear of retribution by her classmates who had just lost their prom because of her.

I really hope her classmates realize it wasn't "because of her."
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:24 AM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a girl who grew up in the biggest city closest to Fulton, this doesn't surprise me in the least. What surprises me more is that the school even had a school-sponsored prom.

When I was in high school, the school didn't sponsor a prom of any sorts, electing to wash their hands of the mess and let them be organized privately. There was the invitation-only prom held at the local country club, and then the "other" prom.

Take a big, racially-inspired guess why we had two, and who attended which. Go on, guess.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:30 AM on March 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Resources for LGBT students in similar situations, from the ACLU.
posted by waraw at 7:33 AM on March 12, 2010


There were lesbians at my prom.

I'm going to guess that there have been lesbians at most proms.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:39 AM on March 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


I tweeted @TheEllenShow to suggest ALongDecember's fabulous idea. Ellen and her wife, Portia could fund the prom and attend as a couple. I'd love to go to that prom. It would totally rock. And we already know Ellen can dance.

Misha, great minds apparently think alike! I joined this Facebook group/event last night, and sent a nice note to one of Ellen's producers. :)
posted by zarq at 7:43 AM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


A School Memo (PDF) given to students started this all. It said that each student may invite one guest that met four criteria. The last of the four criteria was:

"Must be of the opposite sex."

This was an odd thing to add. It's common for straight girls who couldn't find a prom date to attend with other girls in the same situation. Unless they were trying to discriminate against unpopular girls (unlikely), that last criterion was a deliberate stab at homosexuals.


Now, very likely, but if the policy has been there a long time, probably not originally. My (wealthy NYC suburb) high school had a similar policy in 1996 -- since changed -- that all tickets had to be purchased by a male-female couple. (New change that year: if you were a "committed same-sex couple" and could "prove" such [how, no one knew], you could petition the principal for an exception. Guess what no one did?) The rationale had always been explained as preventing groups of unattached *boys* from attending -- there was some belief that packs of boys without dates would misbehave. They did not, in fact, want groups of friends attending at all. (I had several female friends who were unable to attend because of not having a date; the drama, really, ruined a couple of friends-since-birth-type friendships.) The policy was in place long before my school ever thought same-sex couples might want to attend; it was there specifically to keep out non-attached ("stag") students, particularly male ones.

(Man, my prom was one of the most miserable experiences ever! I just wish I had been as brave in high school as the two girls in this story! It would've been unthinkable for me. So I went with my boyfriend and tried desperately to fit in. I'm so glad that things are changing, even if there's a lot of reactionary nasty backlash along the way.)
posted by lysimache at 8:05 AM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I grew up in South Carolina, and at my high school we had, oh, one or two lesbian couples who came to our prom (in 2007). It just wasn't an issue at my school (which is definitely in a "deep South" sort of place).

As was said upthread, while this is just stupid on the part of that school district (prank or no), it's difficult to talk about counties as being monolithic on this sort of thing, much less states. I'm all about calling institutions out on their bullshit, but it doesn't help us progressives who are trying to make things better.

Also, since I'm from SC, I can say "thank God for Mississippi."
posted by scdjpowell at 8:21 AM on March 12, 2010


When I was in high school, the school didn't sponsor a prom of any sorts, electing to wash their hands of the mess and let them be organized privately. There was the invitation-only prom held at the local country club, and then the "other" prom.

My rural Alabama town had a fairly unique method of racial segregation. The public high school (which was about 40% white) and white-flight private high school held their respective proms on the same night. White kids from the public school could be "invited" to the private school prom even if neither member of the (of course straight) couple were atendees. This had a double effect of racial segregation and screening the undesireable lesser whites from the white prom. I was on the student council so I actually went to both. The "black" prom was way better.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:24 AM on March 12, 2010


There were lesbians at my prom.

There was at least one gay guy at my prom. I didn't know it at the time even though I was his date.
posted by orange swan at 8:25 AM on March 12, 2010 [17 favorites]


Unless they were trying to discriminate against unpopular girls (unlikely)

Actually, these were some of the "undesirables" I was speaking about along with the poor. Southern gentility is a myth.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:28 AM on March 12, 2010


The "black" prom was way better.

If ever there was a comment that deserved a "duh", it's this one.

BTW, pollomacho, where in Alabama? i'm a Birmingham native, myself.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:30 AM on March 12, 2010


I wonder if we can just cancel Mississippi.
posted by nevercalm at 8:32 AM on March 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Believe it or not, in Montgomery, Alabama, there's at least one public high school where the administration permits same-sex prom couples to attend and (at least according to my sources) the other students don't give them any grief when they do. Of course, it's a music/media magnet school, so it doesn't represent the norm here - or even the beginning of a trend, unfortunately. Still, they've been doing it this way since the late 90s and it seems a huge step forward compared to the kind of crap I remember from my own high school years.
posted by Clay201 at 8:36 AM on March 12, 2010


If ever there was a comment that deserved a "duh", it's this one.

You certainly got that right, but you never know what the yankees will need explained to them. That particular little gem of enginuity was brought to you by the gentle people of Selma.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:44 AM on March 12, 2010


Fuck you, bigots.

... New Orleans hotel owner Sean Cummings is offering to take the students to New Orleans by bus, and host a free prom at one of his properties.

He tells a Jackson newspaper (The Clarion-Ledger) he's disappointed with the school board's decision -- and that high school should be concluded on a "joyful" note.

posted by Joe Beese at 9:03 AM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


At least one supporter has offered to help McMillen and her classmates hold an alternate prom.

New Orleans hotel owner Sean Cummings told The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson he was so disappointed with the school board's decision he offered to transport the students in buses to the city and host a free prom at one of his properties.

"New Orleans, we're a joyful culture and a creative culture here and, if the school doesn't change its mind, we'd be delighted to offer them a prom in New Orleans," he told the newspaper. "Concluding your high school experience should be a joyful one. One shouldn't conclude that experience with all their friends on a negative note."
So it sounds like the kids might end up a lot better off.
posted by delmoi at 9:09 AM on March 12, 2010


damn you Joe Beese!
posted by delmoi at 9:09 AM on March 12, 2010


Is this the place for me to tell my same-sex prom story? Well here it is anyway:
When I was in 11th grade at my all-boys private school in the South, my friend who identifies as asexual asked the school if he could bring me to the prom as his date. The school, predictably enough, said no. In the following weeks, I was privately taken aside by a couple of the (mostly secretly) gay teachers and students and congratulated on my "bravery," even though I wasn't gay or successful in striking any blows for gay rights. My friend ended up taking his female cousin to the prom. The moral of the story: Homosexuality is not acceptable, but incest is totally fine as long as it's hetero-incest.
posted by albrecht at 9:12 AM on March 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


This is the year 2010, right? Not 1910?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:26 AM on March 12, 2010


So it sounds like the kids might end up a lot better off.

Better off after having at least two classmates told that they are less worthy than the rest and probably being the focus of at least some anger by other students...
posted by Pax at 9:27 AM on March 12, 2010


At one of my school's proms--in 2000! in a major, non-South, metropolitan area of the US! in a state that always goes blue!!!!--two of my (male) friends were forbidden from going as one another's dates. They easily circumvented this, though, with some help: my best friend (female) took one, I (female) took the other. The administration would come up constantly during the dance to keep them from dancing together, but we danced in a group and sort of hid them, and made it work. This is, of course, beside the homophobia unleashed upon them from the students at the prom, and their looks of I can't imagine what. The following year, "security" was increased quite a bit.
posted by so_gracefully at 9:30 AM on March 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


In 1910 the boys and girls would have gone seperately to the promenade. Later McMillan would have discovered empowerment in the sufferage movement and coded letters to her "close friend" after her marriage of convenience to the (also secretly gay) son of a local politician ends in a trench in Flanders.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:32 AM on March 12, 2010 [12 favorites]


All right, so, when I was class adviser for the class planning the prom, a boy asked us if he could bring his boyfriend. Now, just three years before, the previous advisers had told another boy that he could not.

My co-adviser and I looked at the rules and it said pretty clearly "students can bring a guest."

She and I spoke at length about how it wasn't expected that you be dating the person you bring to prom, and that girls have brought girls in the past, and that people go stag all the time.

Mostly, however, we talked about the fact that this is the 21st century and we, as a school, shouldn't have an explicit or tacit policy that discriminates against some our students.

Now, normally, this sort of decisions is supposed to go up the ladder to our board. However, since the rule was phrased pretty clearly (again, "students can bring a guest"), we decided we'd just enforce the rule as written.

We told the boy he could bring his boyfriend - or anyone he wanted.

We also quietly informed the GLSA that we were interpreting the rules literally. And we announced at class meetings that students could bring anyone they wanted as a guest.

The world didn't end, nobody complained and everyone had just as good (or miserable) a time at prom as high schoolers have had for decades.

Unless your goal is to actively discriminate against a group of people, there's no reason that you can't have a mixed-orientation prom. Really, the kids go to school with each other every day and ultimately don't give a rat's ass.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:03 AM on March 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


I'm going to guess that there have been lesbians at most proms.

But mostly closeted. (As this thread attests.)
posted by mrgrimm at 10:23 AM on March 12, 2010


Constance McMillen’s appearance on CBS Early Show [video | 03:38].
posted by ericb at 10:26 AM on March 12, 2010


pollomacho: Anybody want to go in on a scholarship fund to send the girl either to MUW, Millsaps, or the hell out of Mississippi next year?

What a phenomenal idea. I've always felt that metafilter should have some sort of built-in scholarship fund. Imagine if, upon signing up for an account, you could voluntarily donate an additional dollar or two to the metafilter scholarship fund. Then, once a year, there would be a metatalk thread where we could nominate high-school students who had done something spectacularly brave, or innovative, or amazing - like this young woman, and provide them with a few thousand bucks to kick-start their first year in college. I would gladly give $100 to help send this young woman to the university of her choice - as others would, I'm sure. A sort of 21st century, web-driven civil rights award.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:36 AM on March 12, 2010 [33 favorites]


after her marriage of convenience to the (also secretly gay) son of a local politician ends in a trench in Flanders

Worst.

Honeymoon.

EVER.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:41 AM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Baby_Balrog: What an ingenious idea!
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:47 AM on March 12, 2010


I grew up in the UK. Our year (and only our year) weren't allowed school dances because they thought we'd all bring alcohol and end the night in a booze fuelled violent haze.

They may have been right, but at least they weren't homophobic to boot. You go Constance, you are awesome, don't let the bastards grind you down.
posted by saturnine at 10:51 AM on March 12, 2010


Anybody want to go in on a scholarship fund ...

I also hope she gets a Point Foundation scholarship.
posted by ericb at 10:53 AM on March 12, 2010


Ellen Degeneris has taken note and twetted about it.
posted by ericb at 10:56 AM on March 12, 2010


And from Ellen's website:
"A school in Mississippi just canceled their prom because one of their gay students wanted to bring her girlfriend. That makes me sad. Prom should be for everyone, and schools should be teaching acceptance rather than intolerance. I hope these administrators will learn how their decision has hurt not just the student and her girlfriend, but all of the students at the school who simply want to enjoy their prom. Let's work together to make this a world full of kindness and compassion so that no one is punished for loving another person."
posted by ericb at 11:01 AM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


There were no "no going stag" rules at our prom, so if gay couples each bought a ticket and went...there they were. But being 1988, none of them were brave enough to dance together, that I saw. I went stag with a bunch of my straight girlfriends, but we booked out early. Because although it's mutated into some sort of social-justice flashpoint, prom is lame.

And this girl is brave, and her school is run by idiots and bigots.
posted by emjaybee at 11:08 AM on March 12, 2010


damn, there are some backwards-ass people in the world. who the fuck cares if she wants to bring her girlfriend? people wouldn't even have known about it or made it a big deal if they didn't just CANCEL the freakin dance. dumb motherfuckers.
posted by crystalsparks at 11:14 AM on March 12, 2010


Ellen Degeneris has taken note and twetted about it.

Wait a minute. You linked to a screenshot of a Twitter post? Is that Web 4.0?

posted by mrgrimm at 11:25 AM on March 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wait a minute. You linked to a screenshot of a Twitter post? Is that Web 4.0?

Um, no. I have never used Twitter and found that screenshot referred to in an online article.
posted by ericb at 11:29 AM on March 12, 2010


I joined the ACLU facebook group in support of her - they've been posting some great updates. They just posted a video of her w/ a short thank-you.

In the video she comes across as a very soft-spoken person - if that's actually the case, extra good on her for speaking out nonetheless.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:44 PM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh god I'm such a sucker for a southern accent. And good for her for handling this as coolly as she is. I was far, far more embarrassing at 18.
posted by 8dot3 at 3:52 PM on March 12, 2010


In Oklahoma, at my senior prom, one of my very best friends was named Prom King.

He was, in just about every possible way, a teenage Big Gay Al.

Now my school wasn't without homophobia, and not without bigotry, but here's the thing:

There was a photo in our history books of a grand-scale Klan meeting, which took place in our high school stadium. Our history teachers used this as a tool to show both how far we'd come, and how much work we still needed to do.

I don't imagine small-town high schools in Mississippi are all that different from the ones in Oklahoma. I'm betting some of the students are assholes, but that a good many of them are on Constance's side here. We elected a gay prom king eleven years ago in fucking Bartlesville. The students can handle this fine. It's the adults who can't.

p.s. the after party was awesome.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:34 PM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]



He tells a Jackson newspaper (The Clarion-Ledger) he's disappointed with the school board's decision -- and that high school should be concluded on a "joyful" note.

Or at the very least a gay note.
posted by notreally at 10:46 PM on March 12, 2010


I couldn't bring my girlfriend to my junior prom because my (private) high school held our prom on a Sunday night to discourage "outsider" dates. Apparently this was also to discourage drinking, which would have been impossible anyway since we were bussed to and from the location and were watched like potentially alcoholic hawks.

Anyway, I went with a female friend (she asked me, knowing full well that I was queer) and rumors started flying. I got pretty sick of it and during history class finally blurted out "YES I'm going with another girl, NO she is not my girlfriend, my girlfriend can't go." It got very, very silent for a few minutes and one guy murmured "I thought they were just rumors..."

In any case, I had a blast - except for the girls who kept cutting in to slow dance with me to be "cool" or make their male dates jealous. That got old after the third time.

And no, my school didn't care, but this was in good-ol' liberal Vermont.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:06 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hearing set in lesbian teen's suit to force prom.
posted by ericb at 8:28 AM on March 17, 2010


Constance McMillen's Prom: Tonic Tries To Raise $50K To Throw The Event Themselves.
posted by ericb at 1:28 PM on March 17, 2010


In response to Mississippi schoolboard, Humanists pledge $20,000 for LGBT friendly prom.
posted by ericb at 1:30 PM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wanda Sykes invites lesbian teenager Constance McMillen to the GLAAD awards.

Video of Constance on The Wanda Sykes Show.
posted by ericb at 1:33 PM on March 17, 2010


Constance McMillen Talks to Ellen, Receives $30K Scholarship (w/ video).
posted by ericb at 12:22 PM on March 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


I love it when bigot's plans backfire.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:09 PM on March 19, 2010


Ellen and her wife, Portia could fund the prom and attend as a couple.

In her interview with Constance, Ellen did say:
"We wanted to throw you a prom. We, actually, were going to do that for you. But, that's not what you want. You want to go to your school's prom. That's what you want...It's not too late. The school can make the right decision and you can still throw that prom."
posted by ericb at 2:35 PM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, hell, Ellen, throw the entire school a prom. You and Portia can certainly afford it, and I bet you could get a couple straight actors and actresses to make guest appearances just so's to make sure all the students show up. Call up George Clooney — every girl in the school will attend, and that'll bring the boys.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:24 PM on March 19, 2010


Parents in Lesbian Student Constance McMillen's Town Organize Private Prom — and Constance is Still Not Invited.
posted by ericb at 9:29 AM on March 20, 2010


From ericb's latest link: parents have organized a private prom at a furniture mart in nearby Tupleo (sic)

Really, folks? You responsible, morally upright adults and parents - you'd rather be mean to a couple of kids and have a prom at a furniture mart what than just, I don't know, not be jerks?

I hate people.
posted by rtha at 11:49 AM on March 20, 2010


Prom at Furniture Mart: Fail.

Constance is so going to love leaving that shithole.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:37 PM on March 20, 2010


The furniture mart in question is a series of huge warehouses. Twice a year they're home to a big furniture convention, and folks flock from all over the southeast to get deals on largely tacky pieces like chintz couches and china cabinets and faux baroque dining room tables.

The rest of the year the spaces are available for rent for other things. Tupelo High School's invite actually had the words "Tupelo Furniture Market" on it. Very distingushed.

So no, not a huge surprise that it's the proposed venue.
posted by shiu mai baby at 3:25 PM on March 20, 2010


Okay, that makes a little more sense. But I still have a visual of a bunch of teenagers all dressed up, trying to dance around sofas and dining room tables and such.
posted by rtha at 3:28 PM on March 20, 2010


Itawamba County: A Good Place to be From.

Itawamba County: A shit place to grow up.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:43 PM on March 20, 2010


Federal Judge Says School Discriminated Against Lesbian but Won't Force School to Hold Prom.
posted by ericb at 2:31 PM on March 23, 2010


"U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson denied the ACLU's request for a preliminary injunction. He said he'll still hold a trial, but he did not set a date, meaning any ruling would likely come too late to have the prom when it was originally scheduled. Davidson did say in his order that the district had violated McMillen's constitutional rights by denying her request to bring her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo. 'We consider this a victory,' said ACLU Mississippi legal director Kristy Bennett. But Davidson said a private prom parents are now planning will serve the same purpose as the school prom. He wrote in his ruling that 'requiring defendants to step back into a sponsorship role at this late date would only confuse and confound the community on the issue.' Ben Griffith, the school district's attorney, said his clients were pleased with the ruling. 'What we're looking at now is the fact that the case is still on the docket for a trial on the merits,' Griffith said."*
posted by ericb at 2:33 PM on March 23, 2010


But Davidson said a private prom parents are now planning will serve the same purpose as the school prom.

Uh, NOT IF CONSTANCE IS NOT INVITED.

duh. fail.
posted by waraw at 5:54 PM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Trans Student Suspended from Same School in Mississippi That Canceled Prom, Later Hounded Out of Town.
posted by ericb at 12:04 PM on March 25, 2010


Report: School District Punks Lesbian Student Constance McMillen by Secretly Moving Alternative Prom.
posted by ericb at 9:22 AM on April 5, 2010


What Happened At Constance McMillen’s Prom

Here’s the news, from a source I view as extremely reliable. The prom the school district promised at the country club in Fulton was a ruse. Only seven kids, Constance, and her date showed, and at the same time, everyone else held a “real” prom at a secret location out in the county.


(link is borked at the moment, and google doesn't seem to have a cache of it)
posted by zarah at 9:23 AM on April 5, 2010


Whoops, beaten to the punch by the swifty ericb!
posted by zarah at 9:24 AM on April 5, 2010


Wow. If they purposely made misrepresentations to a Federal Judge they are looking at some serious trouble well beyond getting sued for discrimination.
posted by caddis at 11:41 AM on April 5, 2010


That is just about the worst resolution to this problem that I can possibly imagine. Stay classy, Itawamba.
posted by KathrynT at 12:07 PM on April 5, 2010


So the students are in high school....and the administrators are acting like 4th graders. That's just terrific.

Way to model the behavior you want your kids to copy, school officials! You rule! so much hamburger it's kind of gross.
posted by rtha at 12:41 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here’s the news, from a source I view as extremely reliable. The prom the school district promised at the country club in Fulton was a ruse. Only seven kids, Constance, and her date showed, and at the same time, everyone else held a “real” prom at a secret location out in the county.

C, WA (bunch of) A.
posted by zarq at 12:45 PM on April 5, 2010


Wow. That's some prime fuckeduppedness right there.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:54 PM on April 5, 2010


I really wish someone would do a new fpp on this, there are some major levels of fucked-upness here.

this page has some of the comments and FB entries of students who were at the other prom.
posted by Wuggie Norple at 3:09 PM on April 6, 2010


Oh, hi there, intentional infliction of emotional distress.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:15 PM on April 6, 2010


Ugh. That page has me convinced that Itawamba is the unwiped hairy asshole of the earth. I suppose that makes those people klingons.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:36 PM on April 6, 2010


Sir, you insult Klingons with that statement. They have honor.
posted by caddis at 5:28 PM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Chase and Gordon Get to Go to the Prom in North Carolina (thanks to Chase's über cool parents.
posted by ericb at 11:38 AM on April 9, 2010


*Jordan* *Jordan's über cool parents*
posted by ericb at 11:40 AM on April 9, 2010


Constance McMillen to attend NCLR's "lesbian prom" in San Francisco.
posted by ericb at 11:42 AM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


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