Awareness | Posted by Julie Z on 03/18/2010

Lesbian Teen Banned from Prom

Constance McMillen

Constance McMillen

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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  • Samuel W. @ at 11:37 am, March 18th, 2010

    My god, I didn’t know there was also a racially segregated prom in the year 2008 in Mississippi! The South NEEDS to catch up with the times. This ain’t 1952 people, there’s people of all races, creeds, religions, sexual orientations and more these days, more diversity. Mississippi is just showing just how utterly out of touch it is with modern society by excluding Constance from the prom just because of her lesbianism (or as I’m sure they call it, her “homosexualism”/”gay agenda”, both terms being baffling in their sheer ignorance).

  • Toongrrl @ at 12:08 pm, March 18th, 2010

    I have a song for this moment
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F92jlWtekzs

  • Lauren R. @ at 12:36 pm, March 18th, 2010

    I agree that people need to catch up with the times, but do we have to stipulate the south? As a southerner, it is unbearably offensive to hear people disparage where I am from based on their own stereotypes. Yes this kind of horrible behavior happens in southern states. But, I don’t assume that all gang violence takes place ‘up north’ and that northerners are out of touch with the rest of peace-loving society.

    Constance should be able to go to prom with her girlfriend. And I should be able to be a proud southerner without people harassing me about it or calling my entire region backwoodsy and racist.

  • Hilma Pasco @ at 11:21 pm, March 18th, 2010

    Great website design you have, I need to hire you to work on mine! Haha!

  • Samuel W. @ at 2:25 am, March 19th, 2010

    I think you’re absolutely right, Lauren R. I think everybody should be careful so as not to insult everyone from this one region of the US, especially seeing as homophobia exists across the Earth all over the place, not just in the South.

  • Mvibes @ at 9:21 pm, March 20th, 2010

    Ill be honest, I stopped reading Sam’s comment after “the south NEEDS to catch up”.
    I’m from the south, I’m also a femenist, a vegan, pro-choice, and pro-gay rights. Which are all things that are “not southern like” in steryotype. Its comments like that that make me hate having to say “Oh, I’m from georiga” because comments like that (and worse) always follow.

    But really? They wouldn’t let her go? Something like that happened at my school as well, last year the gay kids wouldn’t go to prom and they were afraid that if they werent allowed a big comotion might come of it.
    Which is why this year me and some of my friends (who are bi, gay, and a few who are straight) are all going in same sex couples. That way if anything comes of it we can hopefully get the matter resolved before anymore gay couples miss out on prom (at our school at least).

  • Mvibes @ at 9:24 pm, March 20th, 2010

    Curse the lack of edit buttons on this site.

    I’ll*, Feminist*, my school as well:, because they were afraid instead of and they were afraid.

    Sorry.

  • Samuel W. @ at 9:41 pm, March 21st, 2010

    I really do see my error from before now; I’d like to correct my previous comment: Certain older people in the south (not everyone) need to catch up with the time. Lots of people there have caught up fine, and I apologize to Southerners if I unfairly generalized the Southern US.

  • Amy @ at 1:51 pm, March 23rd, 2010

    That’s ridiculous. Those conservative jerks. I hope they rot in hell.

  • Paz @ at 2:25 pm, March 29th, 2010

    I am neither gay nor bi but i have a bi girlfriend an i believe that if someone wants to take someone to the prom of the same sex. Then so be it. If there happy with a girl whats the difference then a female being happy with a male? there is no difference so these so called board of education need to grow up and get out of the 1950′s and see that there is bi , gay and lesbians across the world and they are people also. Nothing makes them different from you and me. we are people so are they. so i believe that if you want to take a same sex partner to the prom them go ahead. i am pro-gay pro-bi.

  • Cedric Hrabovsky @ at 4:26 am, March 31st, 2010

    interesting take on the subject, count me as a new subscriber!

  • Constance McMillen: I’m Sorry People Where You Live Seriously Suck | Pop-Culture | fbomb @ at 11:32 am, April 7th, 2010

    [...] bring her girlfriend as her date…they just got a little worse. In case you missed the first post about Constance McMillen, here’s her appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show to catch you [...]

  • Delmer Eron @ at 4:53 am, December 19th, 2010

    Hello, normally I rarely comment on public blogs but this time I’m afraid I absolutely have to do so. These days I wanted to install the newer version of the Safari web browser and your website doesn’t render properly anymore. Your sidebar overlaps part of the text and I can’t see it. I used to have a similar trouble with my herbal incense reviews site and I was able to fix it by editing the PHP code. Can you please fix it? Thanks in advance! Please excuse my poor English, it’s not my native language. I am from Norway :)

  • Antone Vegter @ at 3:57 pm, January 17th, 2011

    I’d be inclined to give the go-ahead with you one this subject. Which is not something I typically do! I love reading a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!

  • Students banned from prom over 'twerking' video | Planet Ivy @ at 11:18 am, May 2nd, 2013

    [...] are dozens of ways to get banned from prom, like daring to want to attend with a date of the same sex, not having a date at all, hanging a declaration of love over a school entrance, or pelting your [...]

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