JACKSON, Miss. — An 18-year-old Mississippi lesbian student whose school district canceled her senior prom rather than allow her to escort her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo said she got some unfriendly looks from classmates when she reluctantly returned to campus Thursday.
After Ms. McMillen, an 18-year-old senior at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Mississippi, announced she’d be wearing a tuxedo and bringing a female date, a sophomore, to the school’s April 2 dance, the school district said no way. Officials then circulated a flier saying students could not bring same-sex dates.
When McMillen and a lawyer from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) gave the school district a deadline to rescind the ruling, the school board on Wednesday voted to cancel the prom rather than abide by McMillen’s wish. On Thursday, the ACLU filed a lawsuit in US district court, charging that school officials violated McMillen’s free speech rights when they told her they would enforce the district’s policy requiring prom dates to be of the opposite sex.Fearing recrimination, McMillen didn’t want to return to campus Thursday, and said she might have to switch schools.”That’s really messed up because the message they are sending is that if they have to let gay people go to prom that they are not going to have one,” she said after learning of the cancellation. “A bunch of kids at school are really going to hate me for this, so in a way it’s really retaliation.”
McMillen did go to school Thursday, and encountered some hard feelings from classmates, but said she was standing up for herself and others in her situation. “My daddy told me that I needed to show them that I’m still proud of who I am,” McMillen told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “The fact that this will help people later on, that’s what’s helping me to go on.”
Though school officials haven’t commented on Wednesday’s decision, earlier remarks indicate they feared McMillen’s choice of date could become a disruption to the school’s educational process. The controversy touches on the often uneasy tensions that can surround gay dating in high school.
In socially liberal parts of the country, like Los Angeles and Miami, same-sex prom dates are common. In more conservative areas, such as Utah, gay teens sometimes hold separate proms. But in Deep South towns like McMillen’s hometown of Fulton, Mississippi, some school districts simply don’t allow same-sex dating at the prom. A Feb. 5 memo to students laid out the criteria for bringing a date to the prom, and one requirement was that the person must be of the opposite sex. (Bossip)
This is ridiculous…how will this be a distraction? If anything the distraction will be folks who wear ugly azz dresses or hairstyles. Shoot, I was in high school over ten years ago and there was a guy that happily showed up in his gown and heels, weave and make-up to match…no one cared and everyone had a good time
18 year olds can join the military to maybe die for their country (unless they are openly gay).
18 year olds can legally marry (unless they are gay).
18 year olds can attend their HS prom (unless they are gay).
Hey! Let’s deny gays the right to smoke, drink, vote, drive a car, get a job, buy a house.
Let’s just go all the way and deny gays the right to live!! But That still won’t fix the ignorance that runs so freely, these folks will find something else to complain about.