ah. Prom Night.

I am really struggling with this one.

Have you been following the story of Constance McMillen and her prom?

Last month, this chick—a lesbian—wanted to bring her girlfriend to her high school prom. You know, that right of passage for the American teenager?

Well, when news went out that students could only attend prom with opposite sex partners, Constance got with the ACLU and sued the school board. So this brilliant school board from small-town Mississippi decided to just cancel prom.

Now aren’t they progressive.

The court ruled in favor of Constance but did not require the school to hold the prom. Prom was still canceled.

This made some pretty big news. Constance shows up on Ellen:

Yeah, she makes news. Big time. ‘Cuz folks, this is news. It’s big fucking news. ‘Cuz it’s 2010. Like, really.

Constance gets support from various sources who see the stupidity of this whole action by the school board. She receives a $30,000 scholarship and an offer for a summer internship. Rightly so. ‘Cuz coming forward like this is a pretty big deal for an 18 yr. old. I don’t imagine life in high school has been too pleasant for her.

As part of the understanding with the court, parents of Constance’s classmates agreed to throw a prom for everyone that could attend, one the school board had nothing to do with. And they did. Hold a prom. A “fake” prom. That was attended by Constance, her girlfriend and 7 other people. While across town, the “real” prom was going on. The one Constance was not invited to.

Not easy to hide the “real” prom once it happened. ‘Cuz students from Constance’s school posted their prom pictures all over Facebook.

I am almost not shocked by the actions of the school board. When this story broke, it was yet one more example of how institutions mistreat those in the LGBTq community. What got me, what really made me feel the impact of this whole story is the parents planning this whole “fake” prom. Do you realize the input that had to go into keeping this secret from Constance? That is some covert planning. With a mission.

What kind of parent does this? Takes part in this? How is this good parenting?

And the end result of this fantastic parental upbringing, of course, is how well their children have turned out. At present, they have started a Facebook page fan page called “Constance quit yer cryin.”

I am posting a screen cap here since I expect this fan page will come down shortly. ‘Cuz people are pissed. Well, people outside of small-town Mississippi:

It just baffles me the ability we have as humans to humiliate and hate. Over something so damn simple. It’s a prom. A damn high school prom. What should have been nothing but a fond high school memory for all these kids has turned into an international clusterfuck of American ignorance.

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16 thoughts on “ah. Prom Night.

  1. Ashley Yang says:

    Yes. The students in the Facebook group are dipshits, but that’s nothing new–students, high school or college, will be idiots whenever they’re allowed to converge in large groups online. And the parents, also, though possiblywell-intentioned, were also morons. But my question is this: How the hell can the school district even GET AWAY with that?? I mean, okay, I know the answer: It’s in the fucking Bible Belt. That shit would not fly in liberal upstate NY. But…but…but….HOW? Aren’t there NATIONAL policies of nondiscrimination? And if not…WHY not? This is why I kinda think the Asians have got the right idea with a nationalized system of education. Easier to keep tabs on everyone, unified standards, little southern hickvilles can’t get away with this BS. What was their reasoning?? This is why the thought of Texas revamping the textbook industry and emphasizing our nation’s “Christian roots” makes me shudder from the inside out. I can just see, 50 years down the road, even more of this bigotry taking place–supported by our schools’ frigging textbooks.

  2. stephen raulli says:

    This story really saddens me. I try not to read it because I don’t have the strength Constance has to tolerate such hate. People say ignorance, but it’s hate. Those idiots on Facebook don’t know what hate feels like. They sound like uneducated, ignorant fools. I now when we’re teenagers we make mountains out of molehills, but really, they see nothing wrong with this?

    I don’t want to know about the parents. I can picture them–with the wonderful hillbilly inbred redneck accent–spouting off about Jesus. So Constance wanted to wear a tuxedo? Big deal. Other girls are dressing like complete prostitutes. Prom used to be the magical night where girls got to dress like a princess and most likely lose their virginity to their high school boyfriend.

    Now prom is something that has become much bigger than it should be. People shouldn’t be discrminated against from a dance. Prom is a dance–nothing more. The straight girls at the school who spent $500 on their hair are the real morons.

    I never say hate, but thinking about all those teens at the real prom infuriates me. Constance, take that $30,000 and get the hell out of Mississippi.

    I’m sick of people calling America the nation of freedom. Really? Did we ever vote on straight people getting married? Two women can’t get married. But if a gay man and a lesbian married, that’d be fine as long as they have different genitalia.

  3. JoJo Vinick says:

    This story infuriates me and with each passing detail that enters this story I am more and more upset. First off, I went to a high school where girls went to prom with girls all the time – whether it was because they were lesbians, or because they were friends, or because they were sick of waiting for a guy to ask them. The idea that this wouldn’t be allowed in the first place baffles me.

    But I am more upset about what happened after they wouldn’t allow her to go to prom. They cancelled it. Way to make this girl even more of an outcast. Students most likely didn’t care if she was different beforehand, but for the school board to make one student the reason for all these other students missing prom is just mean.

    Ok, fine. Kids might get over it. But instead of standing in solidarity with their peer, the students (with the assumed help of their parents) plan a “secret” prom (located at a country club) for the rest of the students. On the other side of town there was a “fake” prom. This fake prom consisted of Constance, her girl friend and other students with disabilities. What the fuck. Seriously. There is no other phrase I can think of to rightly describe what I am thinking at this point. Who does this. Sure high school can be hard and students can be mean, but this must have had backing, from parents – parents who ABSOLUTELY know better.

    I love that Constance is getting the word out about LGBT treatment. I love that they have given her a scholarship. I love that she was on Ellen (and incredibly jealous). I don’t love the reason that this all happened. Come on people. Join 2010 – we promise, it’s more interesting and more fun.

  4. Oh no they did not. Seriously?

    Michele, I talked to you about this briefly, but there was a similar story about a guy who wanted to bring his boyfriend to his senior prom. (I think this was in Alabama or Michigan … I can’t remember.) Anyway, parents and the school board were obviously pissed, and didn’t want the dude to bring his boyfriend. In the end, however, the principal said it was fine. In his statement to the press, he basically said there’s no rule against it, so the kid is free to bring whomever he wants.

    But back to Constance. The fact that there were “real” and “fake” proms is unacceptable. All this teaches students is that it’s ok to lie to and discriminate against others. Way to be great role models, parents. Not. And the secrecy component really bothers me too. How can an entire student body – and the parents – successfully keep the “real” prom under wraps for so long?

    This is ridiculous. We’re in the 21st century, people. Geez.

  5. Rebecca Felt says:

    What I can’t stop thinking about is that the students at that school had the opportunity to protest. To do something noteworthy… and they didn’t. I know that Prom is a rite of passage, how are those students going to feel years from now when they look back at their Prom at the Country Club?

    Are they going to sit in classes in college and learn about tolerance and activism and still hold their jewel tone dresses, limos and tiaras over the issue they blatantly skirted around? Or are they going to tell their kids how “Grandma” was part of a covert operation to “dupe” a classmate out of attending the “real” prom? … surely a night to remember years down the road.

    It kills me that all of the students went along with the “fake” prom, to the extent of keeping Constance in the dark completely… I wonder if she heard rumors about it?

    Regardless, I’m glad that Constance has gotten that scholarship, the internship and the recognition her case deserves. Hopefully she can get the hell out of Mississippi and move onto to bigger and better things. What concerns me is that school district, I hope that some changes will be made in the district structure to ensure a situation like this doesn’t happen again.

    I am still disgusted.

  6. Sara Hollingshead says:

    This story reminds me of something going on at my high school. A group of girls are trying to get a “G.L.O.W” (Gays, Lesbians, or Whatever) club started and have been working on starting this club since I was there—2 years ago. Numerous meetings with the assistant principle, countless letters and petitions signed, yet nothing. So maybe the school being a Catholic, all-girls school has something to do with it, but still- times are changing and aren’t we taught to respect everyone? As many previous people have commented, this is 2010, the 21st century. What about respect? Equality? Inclusion?
    Now, I would just love to know what administration was thinking when deciding to cancel prom. I wonder if Constance’s school board/parents who put on the other prom think they were solving the problem, because now, the school board and parents just look ignorant and made this more of an issue than they probably ever wanted. If the school board wanted to make Constance look bad, they did quite the opposite and have brought a lot of shame upon themselves and lost a lot of respect, while Constance has received the support of millions- and I am sure that this is only the catalyst for her in the fight for LGBT equality/inclusion/respect.

  7. dahboiwonda says:

    First of all I love the T-shirt.

    Since I am not gay, I am looking at this as a reasonable person, an outside third party. Or at least I’d like to think I am. I remember prom like it was yesterday, not because it was memorable but because it happened two years ago. Prom was not as I expected. Honestly, if I could go back to prom, I would not go to it. It was a waste of my time and money. I would have much rather ate a big steak at some fancy restaurant with all the money I spent.

    Now I think this is more than just Constance not being allowed to go to the prom. I understand that prom might have been a big deal to her, but I think far greater problem is present in Mississippi. You question how parents could possibly leave Constance out of the prom. But I think this has nothing to do with the parents. The children are the ones who tell their parents who they are going to invite. Teenagers are cruel and are usually reluctant to something different. When they see something different, they are threatened.

    I am sure that if they feel this type of way towards the lesbians, they also feel strongly against other things that most people believe we have gotten past. It’s strange that small towns like the one is Mississippi do things that that make people scratch their heads. As I scratch my head with one hand and type this post with the other, I ask myself, Do towns like these do things like this to remain relevant? Because seriously, how lame do you have to be to not let a lesbian into a prom?

  8. Cassie Cloutier says:

    I think it’s so great that Ellen had Constance on her show because it only helps spread the story. I agree with Ellen-why aren’t the students doing something about it? At least back Constance up. I also wonder how much of this has to do with the fact that this happened in Mississippi? At my own prom my friend Christina brought her girlfriend and wore a tux and nothing was said nor did anyone think it was strange…maybe that’s the benefit of going to a small school-everyone knew so when the time came nobody questioned it. But yet, who would have had the right to question it even if they wanted to? It’s such a fine line-I just saw on the news yesterday that some high school boys parents are suing the school officials because apparently their son was being bullied continuously by another boy. Now he’s in the hospital. The school knew and never stepped in. When is it OK for school officials to step in? When a girl wants to take another girl to prom? When a boy is getting bullied? I think what needs to happen is the students need to be allowed to get more involved-they are the ones walking through the halls, getting bullied, living their lives.

  9. chris says:

    The parents are from a very different generation than us. We are a generation of equality, acceptance, and understanding. Lets just hope these misguided sons and daughters of backwards thinking parents will step into their own rationality and maturity.

  10. ghawk65 says:

    I have to admit this was a huge surprise for me when I read it. It’s a little too easy from where I live to think that people for the most part have finally gotten over the fact that there is nothing wrong with people who are lesbian, gay, etc. When I cam to school I was talking with my friends and I made a comment something along the lines of, “when are they going to stop being partners and just get married?” Not saying this or the rest of the US is all prejudiced I just never thought about little things like that outside the little state of MA. So needless to say reading this article about a high school prom completely caught me off guard.

    It’s a prom. Maybe it’s going to last for about 3 to 4 hours and that’s it. In California they are raising hell over two people doing what they have been doing their whole lives, and in Mississippi they are flipping out over a formal dance. Now personally I never really saw the big deal in prom. I understand some find it incredibly important so I’m not trashing it, but needless to say it seemed a little ridiculous the school board has been fighting her for so long.

    What does the town say? That’s what is driving me crazy. It’s great that her parents and friends are putting together a fake prom, and it’s probably going to be more enjoyable then the original one. Honestly though there is no way that this issue would get this big unless there was a lot of resistance from the basic community.

    It’s interesting though the point the principle brings up about the tuxedo. I’m not saying she shouldn’t be allowed to wear one, but it’s a discussion that is more open to argument. Just because someone is gay and or lesbian doesn’t mean they have to wear cloths of the opposite sex. Not saying its wrong if they choose so, but this isn’t a prerequisite of their form of sexuality. IN current society people are far more accepting of a woman wearing man’s clothing then a man wearing woman’s clothing. The reason behind this I don’t know. I am personally one who wouldn’t think twice about a woman wearing a tux, but a man wearing a dress wouldn’t go unnoticed. I happen to know someone like this and she feels it is who she is and I support her fully. I just can’t help but wonder why that double standard exists in society to a point where even when I’m aware of it, it still affects me.

  11. This is appalling. It honestly makes me sick to see that people are still so intolerant of others life choices. So what if this chick wants to bring a girl to the prom?!?!?!?! Its her choice. I brought a girl to the prom and no one made a big deal about that, oh wait, that’s because I’m a guy and that’s “normal” in the eyes of society. Well people have been homosexual forever so why isn’t that normal yet? The NY Times put out an article recently about how there are a bunch on animals who also exhibit homosexual tendencies either for pleasure or just because thats the way the world is. You cannot tell me that homosexuality is a choice if animals do it. We always refer to their “instincts” and you know what, being homosexual is an instinct too. Its not something these people can “avoid” or choose not to. They are going by what their bodies tell them is right, so why so much hostility towards them? I mean in ancient Greece, dudes used to have sex with small boys, that’s fucked up but no one makes as big a deal about it as they do about one little date to the prom.
    I think the part that makes me the most mad is that they cancelled the prom and a bunch of parents put one on instead and didn’t invite these girls. That’s bullshit. Prom really isn’t that big a deal and it s the parents who are fueling their kids ideas about homosexuality. So what if a girl wants to bring another girl to the prom? How does that affect you in any way? NONE! Now f-ing relax and let these people live their lives. They are just normal kids, let them be. And that brings me to the facebook thing. When you’re mad about something, don’t just make a stupid facebook page about it and send an invite to all the people you know to make yourself feel better. You just look like an ignorant ass and no one wants to see that.

  12. Daphney says:

    That is so absurd, and sad.
    I’m from NYC, and went to a school where two girls making out in the hallway was as disgusting as a guy and a girl making out in the hall way.
    Sometimes I forget that there are still very narrow-minded places and people in this world.
    Someone can’t go to prom because they’re gay, WTF?
    What’s even more absurd then this is the fake prom. How childish of the parents.
    This how the cycle of stupidity and isms continue. These students are going to grow up like their parents. If they see that there parents are putting on a fake prom, they’re going to think it is normal.
    The constance story surprised me, but I guess it shouldn’t have because schools in the south still hold segregated proms, and Alabama had a ban on interracial marriage until 2001!!

    Constance is a young woman to look up to. I can only imagine the shit she probably puts up with on the daily because of her sexuality. She deserves all the praises, being on Ellen, and the scholarship. She has bought, for those who live in more open minded areas, our attention to the fact that craziness like this are happening.

  13. Becky says:

    I think it is disgusting that administration and parents allow this kind of stuff to occur. If this girl were to bring another girl as her date there should be no repercussions, she is doing nothing wrong. People make it there business to allow something they don’t agree with to affect them. She wouldn’t be doing anything different than anyone else at the prom. It is not like people are having sex on the dance floor. Proms are merely a time to mingle, talk, dance, dress up, and have a meal with friends. These two girls could have gone alone to the prom and hung out and no one would have ever had an issue with it because there is nothing about their relationship that would have affected anyone else during the prom night. That is why this bogles me, that so many people have an issue with her bringing her girlfriend.

    Something similar to this case happened at my school. My high school is an all Jewish high school. Each grade basically only had around 65 students. One of the rules of the prom was that you could not bring someone who was not Jewish. I found this really discerning because the school makes a conscious effort to show that they are a “pluralistic” school and accepting of all. But this is not the case if people are discriminated against during the whole prom process. I think this is an issue that all too often occurs in many different communities and ethnicities. What if other Jewish schools did this, would that make the world believe that all Jewish people are discriminating against other religions? I know that people in my grade would have no issue with anyone bringing someone of another religion, yet the administration and head master strongly advise people to bring other Jews. I think this sets a really bad example, especially because the world is a melting pot of multiple religions and ethnicities. It personally affected me because it made me think about my parents. If my dad were to have attended this school, he would not have been able to bring my mother because before they were married , she was Irish Catholic. Because of this thought I had , I never attended my Senior prom. I even went to my headmaster and told him how horrified I was with this rule and made my point by not showing up to the prom. I hope, at least, that he was affected in some way by this issue but came to find out that this rule still occurs at the high school.

  14. Katie Smith says:

    I don’t understand how some people can be so ignorant and misguided. I know that in our He Says She Says class we had a long discussion about institutions and how rigid they can be, as well as how it is culture that seems to have the greatest influence on them. However, in this day in age it shocks me that in many cultures people still feel as though they need to hide who they truly are, and punish those who have different views.
    I went to a boarding school and we never had “proms,” we had “spring fling” which was very different as we all had to return to our dorms within 20 minutes of the dance ending, and really no one brought dates. Therefore, girls usually went in groups and the boys went with their dorm-mates. Maybe I don’t fully understand the idea of prom since i never experienced it, but since when did it become such an issue for girls to attend prom together? I understand the custom that it is “normal” for boys and girls to go together, but times have seriously changed. Homosexuality, for the most part, seems much more accepted and even celebrated in todays world. I personally am just as annoyed at seeing a girl and boy going at it in public places than i am two boys or two girls; PDA is PDA people! It makes me sick that society is still clinging to the hope things will stay “normal.” New flash: it is impossible to define “normal” since we are exposed to so many different life styles. Prom is a place for people who care about each other to have fun, dance, and spend time with friends before high school ends. The fact that constance had to miss out on this opportunity because she wanted to celebrate it with someone of the same sex is truly shocking, and an eye opener that there are still people with such close minds in this country (which promotes equality for all)!
    Constance deserves all of the praise, publicity, and encouragement that she has received, and I hope that people will become more educated and open minded before they decide to hurt someone else because they are “different.”

  15. carlagaynor2 says:

    It’s disgusting that an administration would do this. Constance has just as much of a right to go to prom as everyone else, and go with whoever she chooses.

    I actually had a good friend in high school take her girlfriend to our senior prom. My school board seemed pretty open minded and no one thought there would be any issue. While at prom however, a lot of the faculty upset that her and her girlfriend were dancing together. Really? All this did was leave two girls extremely upset and angry. I thought the school I went to would be fine with two people of the same sex going to prom together. I mean, were in the 21st century, but, I was mistaken.

  16. Kelly- Ann Smith says:

    This story really made me angry. Usually I’m sad at the ignorance people show but this is not even ignorance, this is just hate. I can not believe the school collectively decided to cancel prom altogether without any faculty member protesting against it. I think the school knew exactly what they were doing when they cancelled prom. They knew the other students as well as their parents would be pissed at the fact that were would be no prom and would probably blame Constance for it. What I am even more upset about is that none of Constance peers or their parents even took her side. They had the audacity to plan a private prom on the other side of town and didn’t even incite her. Really??? How small is this town that no one know one saw something wrong with this?? I don’t want to sound like I’m generalizing the small towns in the South across America but this really makes me appreciate where I grew up. I’m not sure if i could grow up in a town where no one saw anything wrong with what they did to Constance. It’s just unbelievable.

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