Lesbian panic shuts down Mississippi high-school prom

Mississippi's Itawamba County school district has cancelled a prom after Constance McMillen, an 18-year-old student, asked permission to bring her girlfriend as her date. The student planned to wear a tux. The school district's bureaucratic non-excuse for the cancellation is that it's "due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events." The district appears to be tap-dancing around the reason for the cancellation in an effort to avoid openly saying "We are scared of teh ghey," since that would open them up to legal liability. The ACLU isn't buying it. They've told the school district that they've got until Wednesday to change the policy or else.
"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 ACLU said McMillen approached school officials shortly before the memo went out because she knew same-sex dates had been banned in the past. The ACLU said district officials told McMillen she and her girlfriend wouldn't be allowed to arrive together, that she would not be allowed to wear a tuxedo, and that she and her girlfriend might be asked to leave if their presence made any other students "uncomfortable."

McMillen said she feared she would be thrown out of the prom because "we do live in the Bible Belt."

Miss. school prom off after lesbian's date request

ACLU Demands Mississippi School Allow Lesbian Student To Attend Prom With Girlfriend

(Thanks, Steve!)


  1. If discomfort were criteria for throwing people out of prom when I was in HS, every prom would be canceled. HS IS discomfort. (well, for everyone I knew)

  2. Bible belt? Sounds like the bigot belt to me. I don’t recall learning that Jesus ever hated anyone. Actually he usually supported oppressed people. Ok he never had a situation with a prom, but still. Jesus <3s lesbians.

  3. Not a surprise. seems like Americans have to hate someone or they are not Americans!

    I bet if the prom went on, nothing would happen.

    1. Oh, but the girls might *gasp* actually express love and affection for each other. Can’t have that! ;)

  4. Man, our high school lesbians were never that cute. Rob is wrong, these kids today lead charmed lives.

  5. As a mark of progress I’ll take a prom cancellation over what would have happened to these two 40 years ago. Keep fighting ladies!!

  6. What I wonder is why she went to the administration ahead of time and asked? Why not just show up with her date?

    1. I’m assuming she did this because she figured that if she just showed up with her date, she’d be kicked out. Getting thrown out of prom in front of your classmates would be extremely embarrassing. She’d probably rather not show up at all than be kicked out.

      1. “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.”

        The school already laid out the rules, she sought an exception but was denied. This is Mississippi after all, deep in the heart of the bible-belt, did she or anyone else really expect them to respond differently?

    2. It’s right there in the summary:

      because she knew same-sex dates had been banned in the past. … McMillen said she feared she would be thrown out of the prom because “we do live in the Bible Belt.”

      She was trying to get approval beforehand because she didn’t want to cause a scene that would be embarrassing for her and her girlfriend. So instead the adults involved caused a scene that’s embarrassing for everyone involved at a national level.

      Well played Itawamba County School District, well played.

      1. Embarrassing? Being embarrassed is not the issue. There is a simple (although apparently not so simple) civil rights issue here. Homosexuality is not illegal, and as such, should not be discriminated against. Period. To use the words “embarrassing” or “uncomfortable” are code words for “I don’t like you lifestyle”. OK, don’t like it, but it’s not the place of our public schools to discriminate on this basis.

    3. Small town highschools are like a big family … everybody knows everybodies business and gossip flys all over the place … it’s currency … you can’t just “show up”.

  7. There are some ‘merkin traditions I really can’t wrap my mind around. Like those ‘proms’. Why isn’t it a normal party on school ground where whoever attended the school during the year can come ? Like everywhere else. Why the need for something so formal and stupid in the process?

    1. It’s a coming-of-age thing. Having it someplace special and disallowing younger students (unless they’re the date of a junior/senior) makes the kids feel more adult.

      Plus, it gives students a social event to look forward to. There’s a lot of American traditions I think are ridiculous, but I see the reasoning behind this one.

      FWIW – My junior prom date is now my wife. Also, my then-best-friend went to prom with her girlfriend, along with several other same-sex couples. I don’t remember the school making a fuss about it. This was in Colorado, 2002 & 2003. I like to think of it as an island of progressive surrounded by a sea of conservative.

      1. Now I know why I feel like I’m a kid at 53. I didn’t go to prom so I never ‘came of age’.

    2. “There are some ‘merkin traditions I really can’t wrap my mind around. Like those ‘proms’. Why isn’t it a normal party on school ground where whoever attended the school during the year can come ? Like everywhere else. Why the need for something so formal and stupid in the process?”

      I’m sure the traditions and riturals from wherever you’re from *all* make perfect sense.

      For example, the tradition of lumping all “‘mericans” (which technically include Canada, Mexico, the Central American Countries, and South American Countries) into brainless automotoms that mindlessly follow ‘stupid’ traditions makes perfect sense.

      If your the best the enlightened non-USA global community can muster then you might as well move to the here. We’ve got WAY better daytime TV than where your from.

    3. I never got it either. I think it’s a pretty stupid tradition that has too much dated imagery attached ot it.

      I guess it depends on the school — I’m sure there are many that just throw fun parties — but to me, it always felt like a lame, junior version of wedding mania. Everyone cares way too much about gaudy expenditures (what dress are YOU wearing? WHO’S renting a limo?) and having a “big special day/magical night.”

      We all show up in what we think is terribly classy evening wear, eat overpriced chicken dinners, and dance to latest Top 40 tunes because the music committee of course couldn’t agree on anything more diverse. Then half the room sits down and watches uncomfortably while the couples slow-dance and teachers glower from the corner.

      I remember feeling slightly depressed that this was what being “adult” was supposed to be like.

  8. I know a lot of people see prom as the apex of their high school careers, but I have no idea why. Screw it! Make some more tolerant friends outside of school and go abuse some substances together – like teenagers are supposed to do!

    Let the jocks and cheerleaders play with themselves for a night.

    Re: the title of Lesbian Panic – I have that manga already.

    1. I never went to prom myself. Part of it was that they had separate “black” and “white” proms, and half of my friends were the “wrong” color, so I refused to go anyway (this was in the 80’s in small-town Georgia), but I didn’t really have a lot of friends anyway, so I ignored all the people telling me I’d regret not going for the rest of my life, and I just ducked out and did something else with the other social misfits.

      Personal ranting aside, kudos to Constance for standing up for her civil rights.

      1. That was the 1980s? Wow – and I thought footloose was a dumb idea for a movie… After all, where and who would outlaw something so simple in THIS day and age..

  9. My boss always used to tell me its easier to beg for forgiveness then ask for permission. This appears to be a case in point.

  10. I hope she’s learned her lesson about asking these sort of questions ahead of time– if you ask, it’s only on the assumption and agreement that the administration has this power over you. It would have been better just to show up. It’s not the school’s business whether you’re gay or straight. Live your life, girl!

  11. Why’d a sister have to ask permission to bring her girlfriend? Did everyone else have to clear their dates through the TSA— I mean, the administration?

  12. I’m sure the students wouldn’t care that much if there were same-sex couples.

    25 years ago, I went to an all-girls boarding school. There were a few girl couples and no one really cared. We had dances with all-boys schools and there were a few gay boys who were pretty flaming and fabulous. The guys left them alone, too.

    I think kids are much more accepting than adults and faculty are.

    1. You obviously went to school in a very different sort of town than I did.

      I had a half Sri Lankan friend who had to leave one school because he got so sick of being abused with terms such as “curry muncher” on a daily basis.

      Numerous gay friends who got all sorts of abuse. Some of whom got beaten up pretty badly.

      I got beaten up on a number of occasions because a) I had long hair and was a boy. b) I was friends with the gay kids and therefore must be also gay. c) Was much more vocal in my telling the sorts of people that abused people based on their sexuality and or skin colour to fuck off.

  13. She and her date would be asked to leave if they made someone else uncomfortable. Would someone else be thrown out if they made her or her date “uncomfortable”?

  14. Something I forgot to mention in my earlier post, but kudos to this girl for having the guts to not only come out in highschool, but to try and assert her right to bring a female partner to the dance. That’s an extremely brave thing for her to do.

  15. I bet she was asking permission because her date doesn’t go to that school. Doesn’t everyone have to inform the school ahead of time if they are bringing someone who isn’t a student there?

  16. This girl better get moving- She has a lot of coordinating to do in order to organize a dance in a short period of time!

  17. I generally agree with the beg forgiveness vs. ask permission idea, but I think she was pretty smart to get the ball rolling. If she’d just showed up, things could have been a lot more unpleasant than just embarrassment. Teachers and/or chaperons try to kick them out, and if they decline or ask why, then security gets called, maybe the cops get called, who, let’s face it, aren’t going to back up the lesbian couple, etc. Good for her for being to expose the crapulence of the high school administrators without having to do it in formal wear and getting roughed up by some security guards.

  18. Mid-70’s, public midwestern high school: we were not allowed to go to any evening school functions — not even Homecoming — unless we went as a boy-girl romantic couple. They literally didn’t sell individual tickets. You couldn’t go by yourself, with a friend (or “friend”) of the same sex, or with a group of friends.

    Seemed crazy to me even then. Nearly 40 years later, we’re still seeing these sorts of examples of group-think. It boggles the mind.

  19. So, let me get this straight – they cancelled prom because they’re afraid closed-minded bigots would get offended?

    Thank goodness my kids go to a high school where same-gendered couples show up at prom and nobody thinks anything of it.

  20. I see this as retaliation against this student plain and simple. The school administration can’t say, “Bad lesbian!” or they will get sued. So they turn the entire student body against her and let them to the punishing. The school administration can claim that they were trying to avoid ‘conflict’ and the student gets a verbal if not physical beat down. It’s a win-win for the close-minded bigots in the area! Go USA!

  21. hmm… we can’t kick out inter-racial couples anymore..
    let’s kick out teh gays!… gotta love the south.

  22. From reading the full article somewhere else, I believe the reason she chose to ask permission is because the students were given a memo regarding the prom, and one of the ‘rules’ were that no same-sex couples would be allowed.

  23. There were a several girl-girl prom dates during my highschool years. They weren’t necessarily lesbians; some may have been (there was nobody that was officially ‘out’), but certainly not all. They just didn’t want / couldn’t get prom dates, but still wanted to come and have fun. Nobody batted an eye; they were our classmates.

    I attended highschool in rural Maine in the late 1990’s. Hardly the bible belt, but still pretty conservative.

  24. “did she or anyone else really expect them to respond differently?”

    If she had just shown up at the prom with her date, people would have instead asked, “Why didn’t she ask about it before? Geez, she had plenty of time. She should have expected to get kicked out!” It’s a no-win. People challenging authority are always going to be criticized, no matter what method they choose.

    My guess is that she expected a negative response but wanted to force the school to be clear about its discriminatory policy before the prom happened, when there was still a chance to change it so she could attend. It also shows she tried to work it out rather than just ignore the rules.

    Although, personally, in her position I would feel that those people angry at me, rather than the school administration, could suck it. But she might be in a different situation. Making the student body angry at her could actually put her at physical risk.

    1. My point was that its the bible-belt, which last time I checked is chocked full religious bigots whom recoil in fear against anything that goes against their bible-learnins. Also I’m sure some of those bigots work in positions of authority (all it takes is one loud mouthed bigot to force the school to do something stupid, like cancel the dance all-together).

      @ Matt Staggs,

      Yes, not every one in mississippi is a religious nut bag, but the school is acting either out of fear of lesbianism, or fear of the reaction of students parents once they find out the school supports lesbianism. Either way its wrong to deny this girl her chance to spend her prom with someone she loves.

  25. Now, what would be really nice (although it’s not exactly her school) – is if another school which lives in 2010 actually invited her and her partner as guests.

  26. “Making the student body angry at her could actually put her at physical risk.”

    The school didn’t have to go and cancel the whole thing. Who reacts like that? It’s not an intuitive response, and she should have had no reason to suspect that would be the result. Any physical risk she’s in now (as a result of the prom cancellation) is completely attributable to the school’s knee-jerk reaction.

    1. “The school didn’t have to go and cancel the whole thing. Who reacts like that?”

      Children. I picture some Superintendent stomping around his office, shouting, “NO! NO! NO!”

  27. Just popping in here to say thanks to all of you for not generalizing the people of Mississippi over the actions of a few bigots. I’m genuinely impressed.
    There are quite a few Happy Mutants down south, believe it or not, and they do what they can to make things better.

    1. There are quite a few Happy Mutants down south, believe it or not, and they do what they can to make things better.

      Hear, hear!

  28. Two of my female friends went to our prom together. One wore a tux. They even took quite a fetching photo together. This was at a suburban SF Bay Area high school.

    In 1988. Evidently, the world didn’t come to an end. And both are now in monogamous heterosexual relationships.

  29. The school district’s actions are more calculated than simple homophobia. After the ACLU warning of possible legal action, the school district’s announcement that the prom was cancelled was accompanied by a direct statement asking private individuals to hold a prom instead, thus absolving the schools of any responsibility while shielding the anti-homosexual agenda from legal action, since anti-discrimination laws don’t apply to private citizens decisions on who to invite to a party. What do you want to bet that this privately held “prom” will send invitations to the entire student body, minus one lesbian? Absolutely despicable behavior to teach children such bigotry.

  30. In 86 my high school prom was open to all grades. The only out gay guy wore a dress and was voted prom queen. One of my good friends was king and they even danced together. SAIL in Tallahassee Fl rules!

  31. At my high school you had to say who you were bringing to the prom. This might possibly be the case at her high school. I live in California right next to San Francisco and this would never happen. No one would get excluded from an event. Its weird to think that this type of thing still happens because San Francisco is so open about the gay population.

  32. Proms are a terrific tradition. They’re good for photographers, florists, limo drivers, tuxedo rentals, dress shops and, the next day, dry cleaners.

    1. “Proms are a terrific tradition. They’re good for photographers, florists, limo drivers, tuxedo rentals, dress shops and, the next day, dry cleaners.”

      You left our “Planned Parenthood” from the next day section.

      Though for this one couple that’s unlikely to apply.

  33. I think, aside from the prom itself, the after party (at least in well to do areas) at a hotel where everyone gets rooms is the highlight.

    A few years ago I was staying in an Embassy Suites. I had come in out of state for a sister’s wedding. Said sister was the hotel’s director of sales so she got me an incredibly cheap rate on a room as well as being put up on one of the “executive floors”.

    The night before the wedding was a night when a local school had their prom. When it was over they all checked into rooms at the hotel and then went running around crazy all over the place for hours. I was just happy that you needed an “executive key” to access the 4th and 5th floors. That kept the rampaging teens on the first through third floors.

  34. I live in Canada. In my province, and in most others, same-sex couples are a reality of society and only the broken-wing do as I do people….you know who you are….complain. Proms, dances, bars, malls, it is ok to be gay.
    It is the way a person is born, and science confirms this. People, especially EDUCATORS should know what they are talking about.
    FACT OF HISTORY….the KINGS in the dark ages thought they had the hotline to GOD. They are the ones that CHANGED the Bible to say to kill witches and that homosexuality was bad. It all there, just go look.
    Silly people.
    HOMOSEXUALITY has been with us since….well…always. It is not a bad thing,. It is a normal thing.

  35. I just remember that when I was a freshman in high school, a senior I knew asked for a ticket for his male date and was refused in front of everyone in the cafeteria by some PTA volunteer. We didn’t even have memos about boy-girl dates, BUT they did ask for us to fill out these lengthy forms outlining the date’s name, age, home address and school… It was quite a procedure. I felt so disheartened by what seemed like such a trivial move.

    They did allow us to purchase one ticket for ourselves at least and many people I knew went dateless. I graduated high school in 2005 in the Houston area.

  36. in my hometown, in the late 90s, if you were a teenager it was the epitome of cool to be gay or bi. my high school had multiple same sex couples.

    When one of my gay friends asked permission to bring his male date to a school dance, the administration had a hissy fit, but didn’t say no. and you know what? none of the students cared. homecoming and prom were nearly coming out parties for some couples.

    apparently the late 90s was a nice time to be a sexually curious teenager. wait a minute, if you were a teenager in the 90s, you’d be the right age to be a school teacher or administrator now. . . .

  37. This is complete nonsense.

    I’ve never understood the idea that GLBTQ individuals “make people uncomfortable” as some kind of logic behind simple bigotry. Similar lines like “Oh, the kids won’t understand a male/male or female/female couple.” Most children, who haven’t had their heads filled with hate, look at a gay or lesbian couple, shrug and go back to doing whatever they were doing.

    The notion that this school calls their students educated and yet incapable of handling the mere presence of *GASP* homosexual person speaks volumes about this educational institution.

  38. In NZ we have dances too, although we don’t call them proms, we tend to call them formals. In my school you were allowed to go to the formal if you were form 6 or form 7 (year 12 or 13 – last two years of high school). In the late 90s there were no restrictions on gay and lesbian couples, and both a male and female friend bought their same-gendered partners. I think my female friend even wore a suit.

    It was normal, everyone knew they were gay, what was the big problem? There wasn’t one, and everyone had a great time. It angers and saddens me that others are not given this opportunity.

  39. The school district’s cowardice disgusts me nearly as much as the discrimination. At least, if you’re a total bigot, own it like you actually believe your BS beliefs and face up to the consequences. But no: They chose to be passive aggressive and maliciously have the girls subjected to the ire of their fellow students.

    Frankly, students who can’t see through this lame move and decide to take part in chastising the girls have both their youth and education wasted on them.

  40. If the kids at that school are anything like the kids I grew up with (and that’s a BIG “if” since that’s Mississippi, not Colorado), this COULD work out seriously in her favor. At the least, I’ll have my fingers crossed about it… While most of the adults remain in a panic of omg teh ghey, the students and the rest of the adults have the chance to rise up and do something about it. I wish everyone there good luck.

  41. What stupid, stupid people. And I thought it was bad that my school banned you from going to prom without a date – groups of friends going together were banned. We didn’t have any gay kids come forward (in the late 80’s, early 90’s), but I don’t doubt they would have done the same thing as this young woman’s school did.

    Kudos to her for going back to school and holding her head high with all the **** being thrown at her by closed-minded homophobes. She should be proud, not only of her orientation, but her responses to the problem.

  42. From what I understand (and I don’t care enough to research!) proms are just a throwback to a time when that’s pretty much all someone had to look forward to before either getting married or going to work on the farms – one night to be “fancy”, with friends. No shotguns, no mothers or brothers or aunts or uncles.

    So it’s tradition because it’s something people used to do. But we also used to bleed people with leeches so there you go.

    Also from reading the article, it looks like the school is hoping people throw their own prom. i.e. – a prom that fits their bigoted standards.

  43. I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit.

    Seriously, is there a reason we even have anything to do with the Bible belt states any more? Can’t we just build a wall, or dig a moat or something?

    1. Seriously, is there a reason we even have anything to do with the Bible belt states any more?

      We? I’m in the Bible Belt, along with plenty of other boingers. So is Constance, the subject of this post. Nice can-do attitude you have there.

  44. Here’s to the schools of Mississippi
    Where they’re teaching all the children that they don’t have to care
    All of rudiments of hatred are present everywhere
    And every single classroom is a factory of despair
    There’s nobody learning such a foreign word as fair
    Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
    Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of
    –Phil Ochs

    BTW did the contact info for the school get taken down?

    1. I read your article, Derek, and I congratulate you on a really well-thought-out response. But must say I take exception to this line: “But Derek, how can you, as a Christian, condone gay couples at a prom?” I, as a Christian, have really no problem with gay couples at all, anywhere. And a lot of progressive Christians do not. I think what you’re shooting for is “as a *conservative* Christian”.

  45. When I was in high school – a Catholic high school no less – I went to the Halloween dance in drag, dressed as a prostitute. I even won a “best costume” prize because my slutty strut was so good. I’d like to think that what we’re seeing now is the exception rather than the rule.

  46. *boggle*
    This…this is twenty-ten, right? The Twenty-FIRST century?
    In the Land of the Free?

    Mean people make nice deities of all stripes cry.

  47. rock on with your bad self, and go to that prom! i wish i was as out, brave, and strong as you are when i was in high school.

  48. “Lesbian Panic: an easily treatable, but unfortunately fairly common condition which causes a terminal inability to remove one’s head from one’s ass. See Bigotry, for the entire genus.”

  49. This district is following Mississippi’s age old procedure for dealing with new ideas.

    Everything must be tested in court, enforced by federal authorities, and finally punished by anonymous violence sanctioned by the community, state, and media

    They are well on the path to satisfying these objectives. It should not be much longer

  50. @88 — Nice! I read this on Yahoo or something, and it was really fun to here all the right-wing blather.

  51. Idea: A gay or lesbian dance bar themed around prom night. “Every night is prom night!”

    Oldies, a disco ball, encouragement of people to dress formal, or with ridiculous frily tuxes, etc…

  52. Another sad prom story in the history of America…I didnt go to the junior prom because my boyfriend didn’t want to and for the senior prom, I was so stressed because the dress didn’t fit right. How great it would have been to go with one of my girlfriends who also didn’t have a date and eliminating the dress stress by wearing a tux…Coulda shoulda woulda… and gay or not has nothing to do with it. Constance should have just gone without asking…and if they would have given her a hard time…discrim. case would have been crystal clear and the world would be “steaming” more than now…

  53. Comment from Tomo (who won’t submit it for himself): I suspect the real reason she asked permission was that they discovered she was a lesbian via her school laptop camera.

  54. We had plenty of same-sex couples at my prom. It was less than three years ago, and just a couple counties over from Itawamba. It seems that not everyone in Mississippi is as open-minded as I’d thought.

  55. Wow! at my prom tons of the girls brought other girls as dates. Some as actual dates and some were just girls who were either in a younger grade or from another school so they could go to prom with all their friends. I couldn’t see anyone being denied going to prom together just because of gender.

    But then again…..I’m Canadian!

  56. Presumably she should’ve asked to bring her cousin as a date like everyone else…

    I’m pretty sure that at my (UK) school, the prospect of some HLA at a school disco (I still don’t really understand what a prom actually is) would’ve cause attendance to reach record levels.

  57. I believe the GIRL should be allowed to attend. WE ARE IN AMERICA. She has her rights. I believe she is well within her GOD GIVEN CONFIDENCE AS TO WHO SHE IS. She is being honest about every aspect of her life. I would want a child of mine to have enough faith in me to do just what she is doing. WE NEED TO RESPECT HER for the honesty she is having with a system that seems o be prejudiced against her for what she is doing not who she is. IS SHE A MODERN SLAVE/? Go ahead GIRL-Live YOUR life inthe open.

  58. WOW When I was in school the girls danced together all the time and no one said a thing ex for the guys to scared to ask one of them.LOL Why did she ask them any way? She should have just show up and enjoyed the night!
    I may not agree with this but as long as there not hurting any one it a free country.When I was in Mississippi as a GI my Brother (who were Black) was expected to call teenage boys Sir. all the while the snot nosed boys calling them boy or the big N. This Pissed me Off!They would have died for me as I for them but at home this shit was going on oh well we got spitted at and called names at airports.all in the 60s and 70s.

    1. @Geezer68, hemophilia is the disease where your blood doesn’t clot. Did you mean “Homophobia?”

      1. I seem to recall that a hemophilia occurs more than average where there is a very incidence of in-breeding. ‘Nuff said.

  59. Geez uncomfortable???? WOW thats a new 1 4 me to hear…. What if it was a person of one race that wanted 2 go 2 the prom with someone else of another race wouldnt that make the small minded ppl who attends be uncomfortable????? What the difference????? Thats really outrageous…..

  60. Lesbian panic=why the girl is being honest. This is suppose to be AMERICA. NO IS A SLAVE. WE ALL ARE EQUAL OR SUPPOSE TO BE. NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO TELL OTHERS THEY ARE BELOW THEM. she is being honest and open. She went and asked not just showed up with her date. Give her props. THE SCHOOL , DISTRICIT should not show prejudice. It is not who we are. Who we should be -she is not a criminial-she who she feels GOD wants her to be. GO ahead girl. I would want a child of mine to be honest like you.

  61. Having lived many years in Mississippi, I have one word that totally explains the High School’s position: Mississippi.

  62. reading articles like this make me realize what a surprisingly wonderful town i lived in and public school i attended. my prom was in 2002 in morgantown, WV. there were several openly gay students, an LGBTA club, and two of my female friends went to the prom together. one wore a tux. there was no hostile reaction from anyone at the prom, including faculty. if anything, people were supportive because both girls were very much a part of the school community.

    hearing stories like this pains me. it shouldn’t be a special privilege to grow up in a place where you can feel free to be yourself

  63. What I don’t understand is that she was not told that she could not attend or that she had to have a date. How are her rights being violated? She was only told that she could not arrive with her female date and that she had to wear a dress -gasp. Why couldn’t she have just worked the system and arrived alone at the dance and then met up with her date. Simple solution to not a problem. I find it very sad that one individual has made it so the rest of the high school can’t participate. I’m very frustrated with the minority forcing the majority to accommodate them.

  64. @104

    she probably could have done that. but i think in 2010 its pretty much accepted that a girl not wanting to wear a dress is fairly common, regardless of sexual orientation. and had she simply asked to not wear a dress, they would probably have accepted.

    the issue is, she in essence would have been hiding/lying about the fact she was there with another girl, pretending to be someone she isn’t. and what do you think would have happened if she had tried to dance with her girlfriend, or if someone supervising the dance had decided they didnt like the way she was behaving around that other girl? they canceled the entire event just because she asked permission…can you imagine how they would have reacted the day of, if she had (gasp) kissed her girl friend?

    you’re acting like she intentionally got the dance canceled, which is baseless. she asked permission to do something she knew certain people might have a problem with, and since the school board is legally forbidden from banning her from the dance based on her sexual orientation THEY ruined the dance for everyone by canceling it. not this girl.

    *I* am very frustrated when someone in the majority (which in this case actually includes me since i’m straight) acts as if they are being treated unfairly because someone in the minority has the audacity to ASK to essentially be themselves. put yourself in the 1950s, and pretend the boy you loved was black. would you still say you were being unfair for asking your school to go to the prom with him, despite the taboo surrounding that at the time? Would you agree with someone who said you two should just pretend not to love each other, so that you didn’t make waves an inconvenience all the “normies.”?

  65. It is amazing to think this sort of paranoia exists today.

    I created a poll about this at http://poll-this.com/?poll_id=1

    No signup required to vote, so take a second and cast your vote.

    It blows my mind that some think the school is in the “right”.

    1. It’s amazing, but yet somehow totally unsurprising. When I was in college, an inter-racial couple moved in one town over from my parents. The neighbors greeted them by burning a cross on their front lawn. Mississippi in the 1950s? Nope, it was western Pennsylvania in the mid-1990s.

  66. this is crazy. there are those that are so afraid/ ignorant of other lifestyles that they would destroy everthing in order to maintain their ancient ideologies.
    “let the girls go to the prom”. she has earned it, and if there are those who want to protest, then let them stay home!

  67. u go girl, B PRUOD OF WHO U R BABY……….keep ur head up high and keep it real and u will real ur goals n life to the fullest

  68. #104
    ” I find it very sad that one individual has made it so the rest of the high school can’t participate. I’m very frustrated with the minority forcing the majority to accommodate them.”

    This reveals your belief that this is somehow her choice. I didn’t see where she requested that the prom be cancelled.

    And yes, you are right, the religious-fundamentalist *minority* is trying to make the rest of society fit their beliefs, based on whichever “holy” book their parents conditioned them to believe is true word of God/reality.

    If the religious minority in power (school administration) weren’t trying to control what the young adults attending their school look like, do, and say in their own celebration, then the prom would have proceeded as normal.

    The amount of ignorance, suffering, cruelty, separation and spiritual devastation that religious fundamentalism has brought to humanity is unprecedented and unmatched by anything else.

    1. @110: While I agree with your sentiments in spirit, from all the news I’ve read, I haven’t gotten the impression that this unfair ban/cancellation stemmed from religious bigotry. Of course there’s an obvious link between religious fundamentalism and disapproval of gays, but it’s been clearly proven in the past that they’re not always connected.

      Many people, all the time, express homophobia because of beliefs and anxieties concerning sexuality and gender propriety, not necessarily because of religious teachings.

      If religion didn’t exist, homophobics would no doubt find other ways to justify their hate.

  69. Do you know the guts it took for McMillan to do this? Kudos to her. I am from a small town in Mississippi (now live in CA) and they just still have very backward views. I hope McMillan will stay strong during the fallout, hold her head high, and take the high road. It will eventually get easier and she’ll be proud of standing up for herself in the long run. Just know there is a big world outside of MS :)

  70. This is why I’m glad I live in a forward thinking, tolerant country like the UK.

    The sooner the US and its christian fundamentalist establishment wake up to the fact that gays are here and here to stay, the sooner we can all live in peace.

    The christian right political movement is as flawed and obnoxious to common decencey and the rights of all to live in peace as the Taliban, Islamic, Jewish/Isreali fundametalism.

  71. “I find it very sad that one individual has made it so the rest of the high school can’t participate. I’m very frustrated with the minority forcing the majority to accommodate them.”

    Way to make it sound like she canceled the prom all by herself, and the school had nothing to do with it. Gotta love that spin.

  72. Yeah, this is absolutely ridiculous. The school should let the couple attend the prom without all the drama. The are just being close-minded. As far as the Bible Belt comment? I totally disagree with that. There is not such thing anymore. I live in the so-called freaking “Bible Belt” and people are not that way, at least not anymore. This has more to do with it being in a rural area. Go to one of the more liberal U.S. states and check out the ‘folk’ living in the countryside and you’ll get the same close-minded response. But “Bible Belt”? Meh, that’s BS.

  73. I have to echo another commenter in that I’m pretty impressed at the general lack of Mississippi bashing in the comment thread. I’m a Mississippi native (now living in Austin, TX). I went to HS about 30 miles west of this place where some gay couples attended the prom without incident. We’re not all backwards, backwoods, shoeless, and uneducated. In fact, most of us aren’t. It’s just the stupid people who seem to be the loudest. I hate it for everyone involved. I hate it for Constance who’s being discriminated against. I also hate it for a struggling school district in a place with a depleted tax base (and about 13% unemployment) that will now have to fight off a lawsuit because of some ignorant superintendent. I hope she thinks about where that money went when the next round of seniors out of Itawamba Ag. HS is struggling to get into college (or not bothering).

  74. Seems to me that most of this hatred towards gay people comes from the U S..They need serious help,Unless people over there are thought to be understanding,and learn 2 be not so judgemental we will never get any better,as a world.Im gay and very offended by a lot of things i read,,most of it from Religious people,,God loves everyone,,or did you people miss that part,,this is what will destroy us people,,Religious biggots and governments to fucking scared,,its so sad,were the same as any1 else,were all human..I hope the catholic church falls apart,Religion seems to ruin so many things

  75. Well i live in the Next town the big problem wasnt that they cancelled it the problem was that they decided to take all the non gay students to a Private Prom after this event

  76. Isn’t funny how the most morally bankrupt, pedophile filled organization in the entire world is afraid of gay and lesbian people, who just want to love one another, not rape little boys and girls like Catholic Priests are so well known for doing.


  77. They can’t stop her from wearing a tux. Thats discrimination and they can’t stop them from showing up together. They would have to stop every female from showing up with another female. Nobody cares anymore about people being gay. People should relize that what other people do in their own lives is their business as long as they aren’t hurting anybody. Shouldn’t they be concentrating more on students failing rather than a couple of lesbians wanting to spend some “normal” time together?

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