Lesbian panic victim invited to Potemkin Prom?

Remember Constance McMillen, the teenaged lesbian whose impending attendance at high school prom led school administrators to cancel it for everyone? The ACLU sued them and won, but it looks like the locals in Itawamba County, Miss., had a plan to end-run the ruling. They organized a private prom and invited her, but it turned out to be a fake: only a handful of students were in attendance. The real prom, to which everyone else was secretly invited, was arranged and held elsewhere. Neal Broverman of The Advocate quotes her: "They had two proms and I was only invited to one of them. The one that I went to had seven people there."


  1. nothing like teaching our kids you’re separate but less than equal.

    Lovely, the homophobes win again.

    What a bunch of losers the school board and the rest of the school is. Did they think they’d catch something if they let her come with her date?

    I thought schools were supposed to teach tolerance and justice and fair play?

    This school board and the town should be ashamed of itself. They go to THIS much trouble just to be pure? How are they any different than any other community that says hate speech is okay?

  2. I don’t know how people aren’t pissed off at this story. It infuriates me to no end. It’s 2010 and we still have missing links dwelling among us, spreading their discrimination.

    1. In other words you’re pissed about the jetpack. ;) Seriously, this is not a surprising outcome, in that if it takes a court order to get people to behave well, then you have to expect that people will look for ways around it. I don’t even think you could really sue again, if, as I imagine, the ‘fake’ event was the sponsored one, and the other privately funded. We need to stop expecting people to act against their tribal instincts and start trying to expand their tribe.

  3. Well, let’s consider the other side for a minute. Suppose she had been invited to the real prom, and 200 other students had shown up. That’s 200 students who could potentially have woken up gay the next day.

  4. I can’t help but think this school has dug themselves in yet another hole. Amazing really… poor girl.

  5. These disgusting people that arranged this are the same sorts who claim to have good Christian values and morals. They make me sick.

    1. It’s pretty crappy. The other 7 kids were Learning Disabled children. That’s not a joke.
      Think about that one for a moment.
      What a pack of assholes.

      1. Well, there’s a silver lining in this. By sending learning disabled kids to the fake prom too, they quite clearly violated federal disability law. While discriminating against gays and lesbians is not illegal, unfortunately, discriminating against the disabled is a federal crime.

      2. “The other 7 kids were Learning Disabled children. That’s not a joke.”
        That’s even more disturbing.

  6. Separate but equal proms. What a fine visionary solution. Well done! The PTA has been taking counsel from Strom Thurmond apparently.

  7. This is… disturbing. A secret prom? Really? One that PARENTS were responsible for forming. Wow.

  8. The other 7 attendants, according to a link I saw elsewhere (reddit), were supposedly all learning disabled or otherwise mentally hindered, aka “special.”

  9. I’d like to apologize to the community for my last comment. I try not to be that harsh but I’ll tell you, stuff like this just really heats me up.

    I just don’t understand what runs through these people’s minds. What kind of thought process makes things like this seem okay? I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. *sigh*

    1. Eric,

      If you really want something that will really boil your blood check out this article: http://www.thepoliticalcesspool.org/jamesedwards/2010/04/01/the-itawamba-county-malcontent/

      A quote of a quote, from the article:

      What makes this story absolutely ghastly is the pudgy teenage lesbian at the center of the story(Constance McMillen)is being lionized and cheered on like a sort of pervert heroine fighting a noble gay crusade against the evil, intolerant people, i.e. normal, non-pervert, healthy, wholesome WHITE people of Itawamba County Mississippi. The pudgy teenage lesbian is being showered with gifts and goodies from Hollywood celebrities, she’s gaining fame and recognition from the MSM. Countless millions of Americans have heard this story. What message does this story send to America’s youth? That being a Homosexual,a queer,or pretending to be one is a quick and easy way of attaining fame and fortune?

      When you look at it from their side…. well, it still doesn’t make sense.

      1. What message does this story send to America’s youth?

        Um… Hopefully that some people still believe in showing support to the downtrodden?

      2. Ugh. And I was just starting to calm down from this thread after showing it to my wife and going on a 15 minute rant in my house. I.just.don’t.understand.

      3. WTF does her weight have to do with this issue? And why did the radio host and the person he quoted bring the Bible into a secular setting (and misapply Leviticus in the bargain)?

        Some Christians they are. I notice they always skip the portions about humility and tolerance when they read the Bible…

  10. Yea seams about right. Petty people will forever shout the Sun orbits the Earth, and Photos steal your soul.
    I think all that attended the ‘hidden’ prom should be denied graduation permanently.

  11. Feministing had a really good article on this. Some of the other attendees, other than teachers, were learning-disadvantaged students. Ms McMillen(who seems like an awesome person, gosh I wish I was as together as her when I was 17!) noted that the one good thing to come out of the fake prom was that the learning-disadvantaged students had a wonderful time, as nobody picked on them or made fun of them.

    But I think the final comment on all this has to go to Nina Simone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUR9yWzN3zc

  12. It’s really sad when the school administrators act more like cruel teens than the actual students do. Really? Making a fake prom and sending the girl to it while you secretly hold “the real” prom elsewhere? I can just imagine the “grown-up” parents of these kids laughing manically and preparing a bucket of pigs blood under the stage. Get a life, some people are gay, get over it.

  13. When was this ever *NOT* the first resort when a prom is cancelled? The routine is simple: The monied parents whose children would ‘suffer’ due to loss of prom ‘prestige’ create their own prom for their little lovelies.
    The only twist to this one if the emotionally punitive formation of, let’s call it a punishment prom, for those who ‘forced’ the cancellation because of their selfish desire/s to be part of their community and celebrate completing mandatory schooling.
    Those responsible should be ashamed, outed, and any interests they represent boycotted . . . as they boycotted children for their own disgusting reasons.

  14. This is disgusting. It’s contempt of court. The idea that so many people were “in” on the deception shows what kind of adversity this poor has been facing. She is such a brave person for standing up for herself in this way.
    My heart goes out to her.

  15. Full disclosure: I’m a proud brother of a lesbian and I find bigotry of any sort reprehensible.

    I laughed out loud. It’s borderline hilarious. This is equivocation that a petulant 6 year old would be proud of; “Okay, we have to invite her to Prom. We will invite her to Prom…never said we’d invite her to OUR Prom!!”

    I applaud the creative problem solving and enjoy the lulzy execution.

    I also look forward to an earth-shattering lawsuit.

  16. Argh. My previous statement was incorrect: only 2 of the 7 were learning disabled.
    “Two students with learning difficulties were among the seven people at the country club event, McMillen recalls. “They had the time of their lives,” McMillen says. “That’s the one good thing that come out of this, [these kids] didn’t have to worry about people making fun of them [at their prom].”
    I hope to god the remaining 5 were there as a show of solidarity and not, as I suspect, because they were foreign exchange students or the lowest caste of High School society.
    Girl, without irony; you need to move the hell away from that place peopled with the worst sort of persons.

    1. It reminds me of the scene in Animal House where Pinto and Flounder are parked on a couch next to the blind and foreign pledges in the rich frat.

  17. Don’t apologize Eric. I’ce lived in the midwest and while it’s not the deep south, my mom heard some of the nastiest thing when I went through my goth and punk phases in the 80’s. They called me a nazi, homo, communist, etc all because my hair was colored and I wore different clothes.

    Can you imagine what they must say if you have a different ideology? I had a young child out playing in front of my apartment (the neighbors kid) and he asked me if I was a satan worshipper; he was maybe 5 so he obviously heard it from his mom. I responded ‘no, actually I’m an athiests. And athiests don’t believe in satan or god because satan is a creation of the christian mythology’. The mother who was in earshot INSTANTLY shot out the door and grabbed her child and ran inside.

    Sure asking me if I was a satan worshipper was fine and letting her kid play with me (had she thought me a satan worshipper) was equally fine but having an educated response to which she could not come up with an equally educated explanation for her child WOULD NOT DO!

    So yes, feel free to call them knuckle draggers if you must as they choose to remain in ignorance and embrace it freely. I have tried pity, I have tried even looking on them as charity cases but they are nothing more than pigs who have chosen to wallow in mud and do not wish to be cleaned off.

    1. Yeah, that’s right Xeno, it’s only in the midwest and the deep-south that bigotry and discrimination occurs.

      Talk about hypocrisy.

      1. No… that’s just where a LARGE CONCENTRATION of it is. And that’s not hypocrisy, it’s just admitting a cold hard fact of demographics.

    2. they are nothing more than pigs who have chosen to wallow in mud and do not wish to be cleaned off.

      wow. well said.

    3. Re: #25 What do you have against pigs to malign them in this way?

      On the original subject, I’m guessing that the organizers of the ‘real (sad) not-prom’ checked with a lawyer to make sure their beloved hate-mongering school board wouldn’t be legally liable in any way for their homophobic ‘coup’.

      I do hope that some morally upstanding person visits the Flickr site and messages the poster with the full names of the folks featured in each of the photos so that the Deans of Admissions of their soon-to-be-former future colleges will know who to send the letters to. And I hope the letters are very specific as to why their offer of admission has been retracted.

      To Constance: You have shown an immeasurable amount of grace and maturity. Good for you. Get your degree, a good job, and live well. It’s the best revenge.

  18. Wow. That is truly evil. I was listening to Dan Savage’s podcast yesterday and had heard the school backed down after losing in court and thought it was over. How a whole community could do this to one of its children is astonishing.

  19. This makes me unbearably sad. Hundreds of thousands of people, world-wide, have shown their support of Constance; but the people of her hometown, her school class, her neighbors, her friends, all turned their backs on her. May they all burn in hell and may all of their children be learning-disadvantaged, emotionally-disadvantaged or the like.

  20. Also, didn’t these morons promise the court that she would be invited to the alternate prom. What do they think is going to happen – the judge will slap his head, say “Oh well! You sure got us there!”?

    Memo to morons: Judges get mad when you lie to them, but they get really, really furious when you to try to pull cute stunts like this.

  21. I am holding a place down here in Hell
    for those School administrators.
    They will be housed next to the Child Molesting Priests

  22. Sometimes the treatment of LGBT people infuriates me. It would bring me immense pleasure to backhand every single parent who was involved in the second prom.

    I will never understand why people go so far out of their way to discriminate and ostracize individuals based on things that do not involve them. I also have immense respect for the LGBT community for not resorting to violence, after years of this bullshit.

  23. Frankly the only solution to this is mass demonstration… This is prejudice simply and plainly. And it is illegal in the US. If this small-minded community is going to flout the spirit of the law by pulling these kinds of tricks the only answer is for tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators to descend on the town bringing it to a standstill. C’mon people… let your actions speak for themselves… This cannot be allowed to pass.

  24. I feel very bad for Constance McMillen on one hand. On the other hand I feel very good for her in that she has exhibited more maturity than the sum total of the parents of the other students.

    Constance I want you to know, anytime you feel like dancing, I would be honored to play the music. Bring whomever you want as a partner.

    1. Frank_in_Virginia • #21 • 07:51 on Wed, Apr. 7 • Reply

      Constance I want you to know, anytime you feel like dancing, I would be honored to play the music. Bring whomever you want as a partner.

      Frank – that’s pure poetry. It sums up how I feel perfectly. Thanks.

  25. Are people seriously so bored that they have to use their spare time to plot against a teenage girl to spoil any fun in her youth?

    Load of Bollocks.

  26. I guess the school board has its own clique, and she’s not cool enough for them. Ironically, actions like that just expose the clique as a bunch of douchebags, rather than somehow proving that they are cooler-than-thou.

    But I guess the straight kids were protected from the horrors of lesbianism. Unfortunately for them they will still have to deal with real-life homosexuals as adults. Good luck complaining to the boss that “the icky gay person was using the same bathroom as me.” In other words, the school board didn’t serve their straight kids very well either.

  27. The lengths some people will go to to avoid catching teh Ghey: “Quick, pull the curtains and turn off the lights so the lesbians can’t see us!”

    If the prom is meant to signal your entry into adulthood, I hope that some of those who attended the ‘real’ prom will reflect on the fact that they began their adult lives by participating in a petty and spiteful act of bigotry. Some day, I hope they’ll feel properly ashamed.

  28. How about everyone that has followed this story
    along with our wealthy friends at Federated Media and BoingBoing
    fund a real prom for her and her date in LA.
    Spare no expense, Air Fare, Hotel, Limo, Shopping spree on Rodeo, and have Yo-landi and the NINJA play at it
    Give me the paypal ID Ill contribute.

        1. It means I’m on board and everyone else should be, too. I’m in L.A., lotsa Boingers in L.A., doesn’t seem like it would take too much to make it happen, yeah?

        2. It’s a weird internettism that means “I agree.” I’m not sure why people write “This” instead of “I agree.” I’ve always felt that it implied that the writer was awestruck at how amazingly the post in question was right, as in “This…. This is IT man. This is sooo right.”


    1. I will totally kick in $10 for this. I’ll kick in another $10 to help pay for a billboard in the town that says “JESUS WAS A HOMO”. Just to fuck with the bigots.

        1. Actually, Jesus was a communist (small c). The early Christians actually practiced communism, pooling all their resources and taking only what they needed (in theory).

    2. Tied with Frank_in_Virginia for best response. I’m in for a few bucks. All I can afford.

  29. I am not at all surprised by the actions of these residence, in this town.. this average, cache of the normal American town is our town, us. It’s not just those who enact these terrible regretful deeds, it is us who have also victimized, scandalized and vandalized the youth of our great nation by standing still during a time of action. We have a responsibility to engage in a civil manner, to be productive and abide one another’s shortcomings if they indeed exist, with compassion and understanding. I ask you to wear the shoes of these children becoming our future and feel the stride necessary to endure such hateful actions. What a cheek they each must posses, turning at every thrash toward a better version of themselves while loving each other and even loving their self appointed enemies. I would like to apologize to Constance McMillen and the six other kids who were manipulated in terrible ways, for not speaking out the moment I heard about their plight. I saw Miss McMillen on the Ellen Show and was sure everything would be okay because, gosh she had Ellen on her side. I should have said right away what I am saying now, I can not abide the poor behavior displayed in the town of Itawamba County, Miss. I am disturbed in an appropriate manner, finally. Taking responsibility for showing up late to the party. Present and accountable. Just rude.. fake prom? Rude!

  30. If I closed my eyes and concentrated, and maybe strained my eyelids shut, I might manage to care, but come on, people, this is the prom we’re talking about.

    100 years ago, the promenade ball was a teenager’s first night out socializing and celebrating as an adult. It was the how kids were “presented to society” if they could not afford to be part of the set that was presented to society by way of debutante balls. And it was the start of something.

    Now it’s a kid’s last night out as a kid. It’s a pointless show of crass tastes, and a major source of liability even without this kind of assholery. It really warms my heart to hear of kids holding “antiproms” or holding nothing at all. The prom is a vile monstrosity. Drive a stake in. Stuff it with garlic.

    1. @26: So, it’s not their fault for barring her from the prom, it’s her fault for *wanting* to go to the prom?

      That’s pretty messed up, right there.

      1. Dude, having asshole classmates is lamentable. Not being invited to a dance with these assholes, however, is not so lamentable. Am I really supposed to be upset that this girl was not able to spend an evening at an outcasts’ table at the “real” prom? She’s in the Facebook generation. She has better alternatives than the scripted, stilted, social lives my generation had to take part in.

        1. @oschwar

          I agree with you that proms are old-fashioned and kind of pointless, but that said, kids are into them. I also think the extension of your logic is very dangerous. Sure, it’s just a stupid dance, but hey, isn’t it kind of stupid to complain about where you sit on the bus? It’s just a dumb seating plan issue. Isn’t it stupid to complain about separate water fountains? It’s just a drink of water. You can get that at home.

          1. I also think the extension of your logic is very dangerous.

            @bookguy: not at all. You can’t be made to sit at the back of the school bus. But you can be made to suffer the silent treatment wherever you sit. You can’t be made to drink from a different fountain. But you can be excluded from the chatter at the fountain. That’s life.

  31. If I worked in college admissions this would weigh on my mind heavily. Are these the kind of kids I want in my student population?

  32. It probably goes without saying that the same yahoos who planned all this will blame Constance McMillen for the negative publicity their actions brought to their fair town. Stuff like this is never their fault.

  33. Itawamba County: doing their best to drive out anyone interesting, ambitious, or just not a self-righteous bigot. Great PR, guys.

  34. I wonder whether all of the kids attending the “unofficial” prom even knew that it was unofficial. I find it hard to believe that the entire community was in on it. If they were…then I find that profoundly depressing.

  35. That’s why I stay in my small town– it’s not going to get any better if all the leaders or forward-thinking folks take the easy road and move out.

  36. This is a quote by her from the Itawamba schools web site

    “Our mission statement of “Striving to Provide a Quality Education to Every Child” is the sincere goal of each and every employee of this school district. Whether it is a bus driver, lunchroom worker, maintenance staff, teacher, administrator, secretary, aide, or volunteer, we all have that passion in our hearts to make sure each student can reach their potential while in the care of ICSD.

    My personal motto of “Expect More, Do More and Achieve More” is what I want each individual associated with our district to adopt. Holding high expectations with a strong work ethic cannot help but yield high achievement levels for our district. We know that with the support of our parents and communities that goal is within our reach.”

    Should we add ‘UNLESS YOU’RE GAY’ on the end!!!!!!!!!!?

  37. @SeattleGuy:

    “May they all burn in hell and may all of their children be learning-disadvantaged, emotionally-disadvantaged or the like.”

    Wow… pretty harsh, dude. Nothing like showing your compassion by wishing ill upon the CHILDREN of those you don’t agree with.

  38. It is the kids that enrage me. Since when did young people listen to their parents? Those prom goers voted with their feet. An entire generation happy to be part of persecuting someone for being an individual. If Aliens land, let’s hope isn’t there, because that bunch of savages reflect really badly on the human species.

  39. So the parents ended up acting like the teenagers they are trying to teach to be adults. HOW AWESOME! Good luck with that.

    Not only do I feel sorry for Ms. McMillen, I feel sorry for the other students who are gay and in the closet in that school because they have seen how Ms. McMillen has been treated.

  40. Freedom is great isn’t it. As long as its a freedom that you agree with? Freedom is a two way street, you respect someones freedom of expression or sexual orientation, that is OK. But at the same time you have to respect that people have a choice over who they want to associate with. You cannot force people to like something or someone that is against their fundamental beliefs. If you do you’ll just incite more hatred. If you do try to force YOUR views on them, then that is intolerance too. You automatically assume you have the moral right or high ground to do so. Not so. Majority rule, that is the basis of democracy. So I’m afraid that the young lady in question, knowing of the make up of the community she lived in, made a play for publicity. Not all publicity is good. That she will find out in due course.

    1. Majority rule has never been the make-up of this country, which is why we no longer tolerate things like slavery or segregated schools. It’s why we can elect presidents who didn’t get the popular (majority amount) votes, and why we can have programs such as medicare and healthcare reform.

      No, we do not bow to majority rule because frankly, sometimes that majority is ridiculously wrong.

    2. I don’t think Constance McMillen made a play for anything except a chance to dance at a proper prom with the person she loves. The point of this whole craziness is that if the person she loves didn’t happen to be of the same gender, there would not have been a problem. That is bad. Period. Freedom of association is fine for a non-school event, but if it’s a prom, it should be for the whole school, not just those we want to associate with. What if we started excluding the disabled? WHOOPS! They did that as well already! What if we started including just the well-off, or the popular, or…or the white?

      Please go back and read Frank_in_Virginia’s response to this situation and reflect. Frank_in_Virginia has had the best take on this so far. Good job, Frank!

  41. The comment thread LaFiga at firedoglake (found via Tiny Cat Pants link above) is very much worth reading:


    Start with post #8 from begleg10, a girl from the school in question trying vainly to defend their actions. The responses in the comments to this textbook example of self-jusitification and bigotry give me hope for humanity.

    Sure — the knuckledraggers are still out there, but they’re losing the war.

    1. Wow, the thread on La Figa also just reminded me why Facebook is such a very very bad idea.

      Reminder to self: never EVER post anything to Facebook ever again — especially if I’m involved in a nationwide media shit-storm.

  42. This has had me hopping mad since I heard of it yesterday. Facebook groups have formed (one by the brats called “Constance Quit Your Cryin'” was mobbed by her supporters), and many bloggers have blogged it. One of the scumbags posted to a blog comment thread saying it wasn’t that Constance was a Lesbian, it’s that they just didn’t like her, mostly because of all the publicity surrounding her case, which they blamed her for.

    She didn’t explain why, in that case, the special-needs kids were excluded. This was a party for the Normal™ kids.

    Later, she came on and admitted that she’d lied about the motives for the secret prom. But the damage was done; her Facebook page was posted, and an alum of Syracuse University (where she was apparently planning to go) pledged to write to the admissions office and oppose her admission, citing this incident.

    As far as I know, it’s perfectly legal to have a private party and invite all and only who you want, even on prom night, and even in prom clothes and with all the normal trappings associated with prom (and they were all there, as pictures on the net have revealed). But I wonder if these parents knew what a long shadow this is going to cast on their kids lives. The Itawamba Agricultural High School Class of 2010 will always be iconic for bigotry, narrowmindedness, and gratuitous cruelty.

    1. But the damage was done; her Facebook page was posted, and an alum of Syracuse University (where she was apparently planning to go) pledged to write to the admissions office and oppose her admission, citing this incident.

      Dude, that’s hard core. Not that I’m opposed to it, mind you. This will be a harsh lesson that actions have consequences.

      It’ll be interesting to see how many of these students have this turn around and bite them in the butt with their college applications and other “adult” activities.

  43. The Prom is a big deal in every kids life. I hope she sues them for every cent they have for turning her Prom a tragedy.

  44. As usual, I have mixed feelings about this whole fake prom / real prom business. As social commentary on the state of things in America, it’s horrifying. Grabs headlines, pisses people off, and illuminates a problem that still exists in the 21st century. On the smaller, personal level, I have some sympathy for the devil(s) involved. Frm thr pnt f vw, prm s sppsd t b spcl nght fr thr kds, nd n lsbn brt hs md t ll bt hr. f sh shwd p t th prm w/ hr crt-bckd dt, thn t wld spl t fr vryn ls. S, tm t trck Ms nd Sqrrl wth fky prm!

    From my own, personal viewpoint, I skipped my senior prom; I was busy not caring.

    1. If she showed up to the prom w/ her court-backed date, then it would spoil it for everyone else.

      Sorry, but that’s bullshit. It would “spoil it for everyone else” only to the extent that “everyone else” is a homophobic clod. Maybe most of them are; fuck ’em.

  45. Yeah, it won’t be another lawsuit I doubt, but I can totally see it as contempt of court. The judge made them swear that this private prom would be open to Constance and the judge was freakin’ serious about it. He let them off with that assurance. That judge is not going to look on this favorably. It’s an affront to her/him and the court as much as anything.

    Obviously it’s up to the judge because it’s a case of letter of the order versus spirit of the order. But it’s just such a smarmy little FU from the parents I would be very surprised to not see a contempt of court violation. The problem would be who to slap it on. The defendants were the school, so he could probably only slap it on them…but if they showed that they were reasonably assured by the parents that this was the for real prom… *shrug*

    It would have to be clear that school officials knew it was a fake prom and that’d be really hard to prove for just a contempt of court violation.

    The nice thing about contempt of court though is that you pay up or goods start getting seized by the sheriff.

  46. All I can say is that there’s a reason they don’t give people like me nuclear weaponry. Otherwise in about a thousand years people would be visiting the Itawamba Crater and

  47. While I think what happened was terrible. How are you to dictate to private people who they can or cannot invite to a party?

    The parents and NOT the school planned the party and didn’t invite her. Who do you write? What laws were broken? What lawsuit can be brought? It’s a group of parents throwing a private party. This was NOT on school grounds, sponsored by the school. The ONLY connection to the school is that they went to the same school.

    If I throw a party at the firehall, do I have to invite everyone regardless of how much a jerk I might be?

    The parents have shown themselves as ignorant bigots. But are we now going to legislate personal thought? I’d rather be able to see the jerks rather than have them hidden behind forced acceptance.

    School Admin is a bunch of jerks YES for cancelling prom rather than allow her to attend
    Parents are a bunch jerks YES for creating a secret double prom
    Students are a bunch of jerks YES for attending the secret prom

    Why the HECK would you even want to go to the secret jerk run popular prom? They’ve proven their bigotry WHY CARE TO BE AROUND THEM? It’s a SINGLE night and means nothing in a year. My advice get through the hell that is this high school, graduate and go to a college FAR AWAY FROM THERE!

    1. Normally you’d be totally right and you still may be, but the judge made the school assure him/her that Constance would be invited and welcomed to the private prom. Makes it a little more complicated. I think it’s up to the judge and she has enough leeway to do what she wants.

  48. While this is indeed wretched behavior by the parents, other students and the community as a whole, Constance (who certainly is far more mature and level-headed than even most adults I know) can be rest-assured that her life will be far better than the rest of her schoolmates. While many of them will probably not go to higher education, she has a $30,000 scholarship from Ellen Degeneres, along with an internship opportunity granted to her as well. Soon enough she will be able to leave that town and make a life for herself. Truly the best revenge is living well.

  49. Oh and sorry…should have given a shout out to Constance herself: You are awesome! Way to stand up for yourself, and hold your head high. You’ve got a great smile, a courageous spirit, now a nice fatty scholarship and you are going far in life. Kudos! These little shitkickers you had the misfortune to grow up around are still going to be kickin’ shit in 10 years while you’re rockin’ the universe.

  50. Sounds like it was a private party organized by parents. Aren’t they free to invite whoever they want? Set your hair on fire and run around like a crazed lunatic as much as you want, it’s a private matter. Do you sue your neighbor when he has a party and doesn’t invite you?

    1. Yes technically that’s well within their right and according to the letter of the law. What disgusts many people is that the spirit in which this was done in. It was done obviously to leave out the lesbian stupid and apparently to renege on the agreement with the judge to include her.

      1. Yes, the spirit does smell, but is it absolutely a gay issue? Maybe the parents simply don’t like the type of attention that she has brought to their community. Take some of the comments on this thread (nukes? really? how does that promote tolerance?). Everyone who lives there is being labeled a bigot.

        But she’s gay, so the parents are obviously homophobic.

        1. Considering that they ditched the learning disabled kids as well, it’s not just a “gay issue.” More like a “some are more equal than others” issue where they can exclude any people they don’t like.

  51. That’s absolutely sickening, and I’m even more appalled that the Mississippi State hasn’t gotten itself directly involved with this, to stop this school district from teaching its pupils how to hate.

    It’s not just a one-time happening that can be forgotten easily. This girl will have to carry this heavy baggage with her for the rest of her life, although I can only hope that this will make her a stronger, more detrimental person in doing the things that she believes in.

    Perhaps someone will come along and will throw her an A-list invite only party; Give her something to soothe the pain, and show her we (as people) are not all hate mongering idiots.

    And for those parents in that district who claim to be God-fearing people: You are possesed by Satan’s will, as only God can judge! True believers show compassion for one another, regardless of who it is or what the person believes in (I really like Xeno’s last paragraph in that respect). So God Bless Constance McMillen!

  52. Constance, come to Boston/Cambridge. We have many fine schools and just about all of them would enthusiastically welcome you with open arms.

    Really, Boston is a great place to live/go to school. Practically no one cares about your sexual preferences. Hell, here in Boston/Cambridge, being a Yankees fan is far more a horrible sin and despicable lifestyle choice, than is being gay.

  53. Suggested new terms:

    fultonry n. An act of weaseling around a just decision in order to continue to be unjust; a legal dodge to enable conduct that would otherwise be discriminatory. “They can’t keep blacks out of their bar, so they just have a dress code banning the clothes black people tend to wear. What a piece of fultonry.”

    itawamba n. A very bigoted, narrowminded, selfish person, esp. a cruel one. “Did you really just call that little kid by the N word? What an itawamba you are!”

  54. so. Closeminded bigotry and idiotic thought, compounded by immature and childish end-run around the court order.

    With any luck, the courts will have a field day with the contempt-of-court judgment.

  55. You know what I’d do if I ran some other — less terminally pants on head — highschool? I’d invite her to our prom. In the process winning one billion media points, sticking it to the other guy (my favourite part), and perhaps doing a decent thing (somewhat lessened by my scheming to stick it to the other guy).

  56. I think what’s specifically galling about this “fake prom” (quite apart from the loathsome bigotry behind it) is that it itself resembles a cruel high-school prank. The way it intentionally deals out humiliation, the way it consciously invites snickering at the “unlucky 7,” seems to have emerged directly from the head-space of a provincial, sadistic, self-indulgent, none-too-bright high school twit.

    1. Yes, and it was organized by the parents. I guess if your parents, your teachers, your school board are all bigoted assholes, and your community supports bigoted assholism, you don’t have much chance to become anything but a bigoted asshole.

  57. I’m personally surprised the judge hasn’t thrown every attending administrator and teacher into jail for contempt of court.

    Judges are notoriously pissy when people pull stunts like this.

  58. FWIW: I have a son who is learning disabled. Among his many wonderful traits is an overly-developed sense of social justice. He’s a Unitarian and pro-any/all civil human rights. He took a significant interest in this case, including phoning the Miss. ACLU to talk to them directly and writing Constance a letter of support. Amazingly, he got a REALLY nice hand-written response from her yesterday, thanking him for his support and well wishes. Bottom line on this: She (Constance) will be fine–she’s a whole human being and behaves accordingly and will benefit from same as she heads into life. The mean, evil, hurtful people will succumb to the mean, evil, hateful world that they are creating. The most we should give them is our pity.

    1. That’s cool. Thank you for sharing it. I really hope this one of those “What didn’t kill you made you stronger” experiences for her.

    2. That’s cool. Thank you for sharing it. I really hope this one of those “What didn’t kill you made you stronger” experiences for her.

  59. The way to deal with this is for everyone here to file a complaint with the organization that accredits this high school. High schools have to be accredited, and this type of thing is considered in the process. If they won’t play by the rules, they should feel the pain.

  60. Dear South,

    We are sorry for the civil war. Really we are. Please secede again. You century and a half of bigotry, poverty, corruption and general syupidity has convinced us what no muskett ball ever could. We really don’t need you and we could spend that tax money we send down there in much better ways.

    We give all your homosexual, college educated, victums of discrimination, and thoughtful people safe harbor in the rest of the United states.

    Best of luck,

    The civilized people of the USA.

    1. Thanks for the offer, but change will most certainly happen more quickly if decent people stay in the south. ;-)

    2. Was that really necessary? You kind of strayed from the subject at hand, alienated a massive portion of the country’s population, and reached a false conclusion. What you could have said was something along the lines of ‘the acts of the Itawamba County locals is deplorable’, except dress it up in whatever colorful language you like. Instead, I’m forced to call you a dick…but because this is Boing Boing, and I’m expected to act civil, you’re just going to have to settle for poop-head.

      1. Virginia, just declared April Confederacy month. Most of the south has joined lawsuits to declare health-care unconstitutional. This is a story of a fairly random selection of adult people in a town being just incredibly cruel to a young girl.

        What, you think everybody is just fine the next town over?

        Please, I will be a poop head, and you can be in denial.

        1. I realize you were responding, but to repeat:

          Moderator note: Let’s not re-fight the Civil War. There are enough targets in this story without resorting to South-bashing.

          1. ok, But they are just so frustrating as a region.

            This act by so many people working to be nasty to a young girl seems like a sign of a cultural issue with larger implications. Maybe its unfair to bash all of the south, given that my sister lives there, but I often am baffled by what goes on down there.

  61. Given the arrogant hypocrisy shown in past events, one can only speculate on the number of closet cases involved in mistreating this poor girl. Better to throw her to the wolves than be caught out yourselves, eh gals?

    I speak from experience, both as an out-and-proud man and as one who has been subjected to abuse by upright citizens who were eventually, and reluctantly, outed themselves in most embarrassing ways. They’ll get theirs, but long after your scars have faded.

    Constance, take heart! now you know who your friends are, and who are not. Shake the dust of that sad place from your shoes and see the world. Don’t look back! Better times await you, we promise.

  62. Hate breeds hate and it only stands to make them point their fingers of judgement and say ‘we were right to exclude them’ look at their hatred towards us’ without having to realize the origin of the source of hatred.

    The best thing to do as many gays and lesbians have found… confuse them. Be friendly, be nice, be helpful, be the neighbor, friend, coworker, schoolmate that everyone likes and then tell them they all like a gay person… it makes it hard to ostracize and when they do, they never forget what they have done because all they remember is all they good things you did and they can only remember one thing that they deem as bad.

    It puts them in a horrible state of conflict that they must internally come to terms with.

  63. “From their point of view, prom is supposed to be a special night for their kids, and one lesbian brat has made it all about her.”

    No, *they* made it all about her by cancelling the “real” prom because she was going to show up.

    Blaming someone for taking offense to being discriminated against is pretty twisted logic.

    As an aside, “Lesbian Panic” would be a great band name.

    1. As an aside, “Lesbian Panic” would be a great band name.

      “Potemkin Prom”‘s not bad either!

  64. This whole affair is disgusting. Anyone who defends the parents’ right to hold an alterna-prom is missing the goddamn point by a mile, even though a judge told them to invite Constance and her girlfriend. BTW, the Itawba superintendent’s email address doesn’t work at the moment.

  65. Does this remind anyone else of the documentary “Prom Night in Mississippi”, where a high school still has segregated prom (one for whites, one for blacks). Morgan Freeman offers to pay for their prom if they agree to integrate. The school agrees, tensions rise, and some parents host a secret, whites-only prom (though the secret gets out).

    I saw the movie the night before learning about Constance McMillen’s situation, and joked with my wife that the outcome would be the same (though in the movie, the integrated prom was much more successful).

    I wish I could say I was shocked by this.

  66. Were they within the letter of the law not inviting Constance, unfortunately yes.

    HOWEVER, you can’t specifically exclude students with disabilities like that. The ADA does not at all allow this. It’s a HUGE deal. I’d try and get the parents of those students to sue since they have a real chance of winning. As a lesbian, I do wish gays had more discrimination protections. Unfortunately we do not.

  67. I disagree that “the only answer is for tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators to descend on the town bringing it to a standstill.”

    I think that it would be fun if my Gay and Lesbian friends from around the country decided to hold “Constance’s Proms” everywhere in the country. Pay for her and her date to fly out, first class, and celebrate who they are. I’d be proud to have a daughter like her, and I’m ready to donate to the prom and her airfare!

    1. And they can play “You’re not one of us” by Peter Gabriel.

      “There’s only water, in a stranger’s tear…”

  68. For some reason, I still half-hoped that her fellow students would show some empathy yet I’m not surprised that they cowardly (or plain maliciously) opted not to. We tend to expect openness and progressiveness to naturally occur in young people, just because they’re young, but without good role models it’s sadly not the case. Most of them obviously have grown to be as bigoted and petty as their folks.

    Rotten people all around.

  69. Attention outraged carpetbaggers,

    You people are spouting all of these ridiculous comments about bigotry in the south and think this is some kind of gay movement against all of the bumpkins that populate this intolerant state. Granted, we in Mississippi have have not proved the most tolerant of folk, but this has nothing to do with this going on in the south. If this girl had half a brain, she would’ve gone to Mississippi School of Math and Science, which is about 60 miles from Fulton (Itawamba County). It’s a college-like boarding school that’s publically funded. Pretty much half the student body there was queer like a basket full of rainbows. Like dudes wearing makeup and shit, come on. This is a tolerant school and she easily could’ve gone there. (I know a guy that got like a 20 on his ACT and got accepted). People are so quick to talk about bigotry but have no sense of how biased they are themselves. This is a really rural town in Mississippi and there are ones like it all over the US. I live like an hour away from this town, so you yankees need to stop being so haughty about how “tolerant” you think you are. Schools here are like 50% black, so its easier to learn to be more tolerant when you’re not the majority (methinks). You people have some serious misconceptions about how things work in the south and will always miss out on the wonderful culture we have here. You’ll never understand it through the myopic lens you people look through.

    1. Nonetheless, the whole affair is still disgusting. Blaming her for not going to the cool tolerant school does not make me sympathetic to your overall point.

  70. I’m really glad that Constance is taking this as well as she is. It shows her strength, resilience and grace. Plus, I can tell by her picture that’s she’ll be fine.

    If the Itawamba PTA had let her come to the prom with the guest of her choice originally, then they wouldn’t be the center of all this negative attention. They’re embarassed now, so they’re blaming her. It’s a passive-agressive coping mechanism on a community scale.

    The community as a whole is going to have to come together and make good on this some how if they care about how the rest of the world sees them.

  71. Attention outraged carpetbaggers,

    You people are spouting all of these ridiculous comments about bigotry in the south and think this is some kind of gay movement against all of the bumpkins that populate this intolerant state. Granted, we in Mississippi have have not proved the most tolerant of folk, but this has nothing to do with this going on in the south. If this girl had half a brain, she would’ve gone to Mississippi School of Math and Science, which is about 60 miles from Fulton (Itawamba County). It’s a college-like boarding school that’s publically funded. Pretty much half the student body there was queer like a basket full of rainbows. Like dudes wearing makeup and shit, come on. This is a tolerant school and she easily could’ve gone there. (I know a guy that got like a 20 on his ACT and got accepted). People are so quick to talk about bigotry but have no sense of how biased they are themselves. This is a really rural town in Mississippi and there are ones like it all over the US. I live like an hour away from this town, so you yankees need to stop being so haughty about how “tolerant” you think you are. Schools here are like 50% black, so its easier to learn to be more tolerant when you’re not the majority (methinks). You people have some serious misconceptions about how things work in the south and will always miss out on the wonderful culture we have here. You’ll never understand it through the myopic lens you people look through.

    1. Hysterical. Your own blatant bigotry in your post decrying how people are pointing out bigotry is too ironic. I mean, if you are going to come to BoingBoing to astro-turf, at least don’t be so obvious about it.

    2. I think that sometimes gay people don’t want to be stuffed into a basket full of rainbows. Perhaps some gay people just want to be WITH PEOPLE. They should be allowed to do that without a bunch of weak-minded, knuckle-dragging shitfucks jackassing around with their lives.

      Anyway, this whole issue just burns me up. I went to a really great arts highschool, and this sort of blatant gay-bashing (or bashing of any kind, really) never cropped up. To see it anywhere else is absolutely mind-boggling to me. Rarely has a post made me as up-in-arms. Isn’t there something we can do for this poor girl?

    3. Seriously? You’re defending this? I’d invite you to jump into the 21st Century with the rest of us, but you need to make it through the 19th and 20th first.

    4. No. This is basically a separate but equal argument. The kind Mississippi is so damned famous for anyway.

      Secondly, I’m not a yankee. I’m from Texas. I still think the down is full of bigots. How about *you* don’t go around like you speak for the whole south anyway, your “carpetbagger” comment says it all. You speak for the worst parts of the south for the worst reasons.

      It isn’t the civil war, you’re not standing proud for the south you’re just defending a bunch of nasty losers who feel they have the privilege to hate. I really don’t care how many of them have what skin color. That is irrelevant to this situation.

    5. Can you not see how suggesting she should have gone to private school instead isn’t morally right? Basically you suggest she should have segregated herself. And as I expect you guys know by now, segregation is not a good thing. Mortis at #98 made a better point about not generalizing about the South, without suggesting she was in the wrong for daring, DARING, to go to a public school.

    6. I don’t know much about the south, and I won’t make any blanket statements about it based on the obvious bigotry in Itawamba County, but hell’s bells, man! Are you seriously suggesting that her choice to go to a local public school rather than a private school 60 miles away somehow makes this kind of behaviour okay? The parents and children of Itawamba County are going to have to learn to deal with the existence of gay people, because, news flash, gay people exist! And pulling stunts like this – whether there’s only one gay student in the school or a thousand – is never, EVER going to be okay.

      1. I moved from Germany to Marietta GA when I was twelve. This was many years ago but I remember so much so clearly. The kids were assholes, the teachers were bigger assholes, and my life in the subsequent years were total shit – filled with insequrities and for lack of a better term, trauma. I remember vividly being kicked off the bus for something I didn’t do (throwing something at the bus driver) because I couldn’t explain things fast enough. Then because I was still writing English with “bad German” structure they stuck me in a class with mentally disabled kids (or whatever the correct terminology is). I cried foul. No one cared (I had shit parents too, that’s a different story).

        After I finally got out of that mess when my father finally did something about it because I complained day in and out, I was already behind in class. So thanks to that, after a month or two there was a concert for the kids in band. So there I was having thought I had learned the ins and outs of Southern hospitality, cuffed jeans and what not, 1/4 of the way through the concert in front of everyone including other parents, a teacher runs up and shouts “No no no! Not you!” and grabs me off stage pretty violently and says I’m not allowed to play because I missed more than two days of band. The music never stopped playing. Well duh, obviously I had been stuck in the “specials” class making glitter paper instead of being in class with the other “normal” kids.

        I’m 32 years old now, and I really believe that I have an incredible sense of patience and understanding. I can deal with just about anything. But there’s hardly a week or maybe a month in my life since then that I haven’t forgotten just how shitty people in the South of this country can be. The snickering behind your back shit talking, that good ‘ol “let’s teach that kid a lesson cuz he’s not one of us”, and the ever popular dismissal of any legitimate complaint you might have about the way you’re being treated. Either you’re in, or your not human. They dehumanize you first so it’s easier to treat you like a sub human piece of shit. It’s their culture, it’s what they do.

        (* Disclaimer – there were some nice folks, but they were far and few in between, and when they were there, they really were good. Probably saved my life.)

        1. Glad you made it through to adulthood, Duffong. My guess is that some of the ‘different’ kids there don’t. I grew up in the same kind of atmosphere of stifling religion, but in Canada, so things were a lot better for ‘bi’ me and my very out lesbian neice. She only had one exorcism performed on her.
          I don’t know what the emoticon for a friendly cyber hug is, but let’s go with <> for now.

        2. I’m so sorry you had to put up with that. I had very similar experiences in Texas. They would also try to get you labeled because that school didn’t have special ed. IOW they could kick you out then. It sucked, and certainly is a limiting factor.

          I still live in Texas, but I hope to get out of it some time. I certainly wouldn’t raise kids here. Hell, they’re still trying to teach that the earth is 6000 in these parts.

    7. Woot! Rebel Troll is Rebellious!

      It’s easier to be tolerant when you realize that people who are different from you pose no threat, are interesting and can teach you something.

      I like your black and white comment. It illustrates a point. It makes the world seem like there are only two simple options the world; black and white, us or them, good or bad, north or south. But, of course, the world is infinitely more complicated than that. There are shades of grey and even those rainbow colors in the baskets you mention. These differences give character and depth to the world.

      Saying that we have to tolerate someone else’s intolerance is no better than having a secret prom. It just turns a blind eye to the underlying situation of a county living in fear of a 17 year old girl’s individuality.

      1. I don’t think someone creates an ID called “Rasputin’s Member” just for one thread (which RM appears to have done) unless they intend to be a dick about something.

        A huge dick, if legends are correct.

    8. If this girl had half a brain, she would’ve gone to Mississippi School of Math and Science, which is about 60 miles from Fulton

      Ugh. I don’t know about the South, but I think my lunch is about to rise again.

    9. Hi mate.

      All you have done is to try and justify why people who are unable or unwilling to conform to your view of normal should go out of their way to live, study etc somewhere out of sight where your values can’t be challenged. And for that matter that it is OK to be prejudiced and discriminate against people who in some way are different.

      The principle of equality is that whatever a persons faith, sexual orientation etc etc they should be treated as other members of society.

      What has happened here is a bunch of people who are unable to respect the identity of Ms McMillen as an individual.

    10. Your answer is that she should have segregated herself into a queer ghetto? How is this not intolerant? Oh I get it, people of Mississippi have nothing against gay people because there’s a place 60 miles away for them to gather out of contact with the small town folks? I’m so glad you think “I like you just fine now go away” is the height of tolerance.

  72. Sorry for the double post fellas, it was not intended. Just quit talking about Mississippi like we just had a lynching or a fag drag. I don’t have much pride in my state, but I at least want to use the opportunity to defend it when it involves an issue such as this. I can’t believe this made headlines and talk shows everywhere..seriously.

    1. You really don’t think this is an issue? This was a school. Equal protection, integration, Brown V. Board of Education all over again. As I recall Brown V. Board of Education made its way into a high school U.S. history textbook or two and a fair number of papers as well (as it is arguably one of the two or three most famous and important court cases in the history of our country).

      You think this issue is so much different that it doesn’t bear hitting the news for a couple of weeks? Or do you not think it’s as big a deal to exclude homosexuals as it is to exclude black people?

    2. RM, just an internet-culture lesson: using the phrase ‘you people’ is a hot button for a lot of people. It’s used so often by ranting trolls that many people automatically dismiss any post that contains it. Many of those who do read the post will read it less charitably.

      In general, it’s better to be very polite when calling people on what you see as rude or otherwise inappropriate behavior. If you had simply said “Please don’t tar all of Mississippi with the same brush; not everyone here is as bigoted as the population of Fulton” you would have gotten apologies.

      That said, I know how infuriating it can be. Broad-brush statements are distressingly common, and it sure gets tiring to keep having to say “not all of us.”

      And while I know you were addressing “outraged carpetbaggers,” and I’m not one, but then you said “you yankees,” and I wasn’t sure you weren’t aiming at me (despite the fact that I hadn’t said anything about Mississippi in general); I’m a hardcore yankee: born in IL, raised in MI, live in NJ.

      Fulton is the ‘Goddam’ in “Mississippi Goddam.”

  73. I wonder if Rev Phelps will be the speaker at the HS Graduation. I’m sure they have won HIS support.

  74. Otherwise Intelligent People Posting Comments: Please stop using “The South” and generalizing the entire population. You think that type of thinking might be what got us here in the first place? Some of us are pretty cool and progressive. As Day Vexx (#32) said, many of us stay here to make changes, as opposed to moving away and taking the easy route.



  75. On the one hand, yes the parents and town have shown a stunning level of douchbaggery. I truly amazes me that there are people SOOOOO Terrified of teh gay. ZOMG! Gay cooties! PDAs from same-sex couples will cause a SSC sized black hole to swallow the city! It’s to laugh.

    But it’s just the prom. It’s not a grade, it’s not a job, it’s not an educational opportunity. I just don’t understand how people can imagine that this is in any way IMPORTANT.

  76. Come on Xeni
    Bring the paypal ID!
    We got Happy mutants that want to bring prom to this girl.
    Call Die Antwoord.
    Have them bring that next level SHit
    fly em in pick em up at LAX
    take’em over to the Viceroy
    get the makeup, wardrobe and hair
    lets make this shit happen

    1. And yeah…here’s another vote for a paypal account for a big freaking party in the city of Constance’s choosing.

    2. Seconded. Chanttojah, you win a free internet.

      I can’t believe there are people who don’t like lesbians. Has anyone told Howard Stern?

  77. Rasputin’s Member – I must say, that was some impressive trolling. The “fag drag” was a little heavy handed though.

    Anyone who falls for it should take a deep breath.

    One of the big gay rights organizations should totally throw a huge high school prom . . . throw it somewhere glamorous, NYC, L.A, wherever . . . invite a laundry list of famous people and turn it into the “not to be missed” event of the season – invite these two girls (and the other 7 students) and make it the event of their lives.

    I’ll donate and put the donation banner up on my websites . . . I suspect a LOT of people will do the same.

  78. So what? Yes, the whole episode is stupid and bigoted, but this was utterly predictable outcome. There was a prom and she was invited. And that’s the end of it. The courts obviously can’t send SWAT teams to students’ homes and drag them to a party they don’t want to attend, and they can’t arrest parents for arranging a concurrent private party.

    Was it done out of evil motives? I have no idea, neither do you, and unless we’ve instituted thoughtcrime laws it doesn’t make any difference. I suspect the parents and students simply resented having their dance turned into a court-supervised media event. Ms McMillen fought the good fight and was adept at using this event to advance her cause. But as important as this issue may be, the world does not revolve around her, and the other students are not required to function as props in her crusade. That’s freedom. And we want freedom, right?

    1. The courts obviously can’t send SWAT teams to students’ homes and drag them to a party they don’t want to attend, and they can’t arrest parents for arranging a concurrent private party.

      Please point me to the post where anyone here called for either thing.

      No, we’re saying they should be publicly denounced and vilified for being scumbags. And that is freedom too.

    2. Yo, you do understand that this could have been a complete non-issue if they just let Constance take her date to the prom? The school was the one who went ahead and cancelled it. If the parents and kids had supported Constance, the school would have backed down and nothing would have happened.

      None of us know Constance personally, but from all her public gestures so far, she seems like a good, decent person. Accusing her of leading a “crusade” and believing that the world “revolves around her” is just distasteful.

    3. Time line
      1. Girl goes to administration: “Hey, I’m wearing a tux to proma nd bringing my girlfriend.” Admin: “No you are not!” Girl: “Can’t stop me it’s settled law and discriminatory” Admin: “FU!!!!!!”
      2. Admin Cancels Prom (Admin: “TAKE THAT LEZ BITCH”)
      3. Girl phones ACLU rightfully sues for turning her into the ogre who is ruining the rest of the students lives. Asks for prom to be reinstated(for everyone).
      4. Girl wins, but Judge can’t force them to hold a prom.
      5. Media shit-storm, admin at school get trolled. Admin puts on a “prom” in collusion with parents and students creates an “alternate prom” designed to keep the gheys and tards out.
      6. People are outraged!!!! at highschool drama(thats why we watch Glee right?)
      7. Bryan C makes a point about freedom and ends the argument.
      8. Angels rejoice

  79. As thoroughly reprehensible as all this is, it sounds to me like she got to spend her prom night with the only seven people in that crummy town who are worth hanging around with. So all’s well that ends well? :-P

  80. Actually I just thought about this one,
    what if Constance is some kind of mad PR genius who is simply playing everyone down there for the publicity.
    If thats the case
    someone hire that girl!

  81. UPDATE:

    An alternative prom is being organized by the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition with fiscal organizing being provided by ACLU of Mississippi.

    Here’s info: http://mssafeschools.org/
    And here’s the donation link for the alt prom (which everybody at Itawamba High is invited to):
    NOTE: To earmark the money for MSSC, put MSSC in the Why are you donating? field.

    Note that this is legit. I found this from the main ACLU site:


  82. When this story first broke I heard an interview with Ms McMillen in which she went to great lengths to express how proud she was of her state and hometown. I’m guessing she isn’t feeling that way any more.

    I really hope the parents of her class mates have a good long think about what they are teaching their children. This is childish and appalling.

  83. Would the happy mutants of Mississippi be willing to organize/attend a formal attire flashmob on the grounds of Ms. McMillen’s school? I mean the whole nine: limos on the school lawn, geeks swanning about in long dresses and white tuxes, endless supplies of Silly String and condoms…I want signs that read “PROM: UR DOIN IT WRONG” and some goddamn Rick Astley on the boom box. Because Constance got rickrolled.

  84. This affair is revealing the difference between “tolerance” and “diversity”.

    We do not “tolerate” gays, or blacks, or rednecks, or Zydeco musicians; because they don’t do anything wrong that requires any effort to ignore. That’s what “tolerate” means – to put up with some irritation.

    “Diversity” means everyone’s different, and that’s a Good Thing. In the words of one Jean-Luc Picard (an alleged French character):

    it is the differences which make us strong

  85. Roast Beef here, can’t sign in for some reason.

    I’ve seen this conversation on a few different blogs now, and I’m seeing a lot of similar posts. Here are a few things I wish for this conversation:

    1. A little less denunciation of the south/Mississippi/whatever. Anytime we speak of a large group of people in one breath like that, we are dehumanizing them, which sets us up for bad stuff down the line (and bad communication in here here and now). I don’t agree with Rasputin’s Member’s assertion that Constance could have avoided this whole thing by packing up her life and going to public boarding school–it’s victim-blaming and misses the point. But I agree with them that blaming the state of Mississippi is unhelpful. Some northern folk are really happy to point out ergregious cartoony prejudice in the south, which helps us avoid really dealing with the insidious and subtle and still really damaging prejudice we have going on up here.

    2. Some acknowledgement/discussion of the instrinsically related issue linked by damnitkage @36. Here’s the link again, for those who missed it the first time: http://www.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2010/03/24/itawamba-agricultural-high-school-suspended-a-transgendered-student-back-in-january
    Shenanigans like this don’t happen in isolation. Trans kids may be the most vulnerable color on the LTBG rainbow, and their needs are often left unmet because the mainstram gaytriarchy sees them as “too extreme”. Well, Constance was “too extreme” for her classmates, and we all agree the result is atrocious. Can we see the relationship between Constance’s troubles and Juin’s? Please?

  86. Someone should organize a gay pride parade down there this summer! They would *love* the publicity!

  87. Really how many of those who attended the secret prom were closet gays? Who will look back on this in their later years and think this was a chance for me?

  88. RUN AWAY!!! It’s a teenage lesbian!!!
    I love the amazing and continuing examples of Southern hospitality.
    Different = terrorist, or some such nonsense.

  89. The joke’s on me, then.

    I was waiting for the term War of Northern Aggression to be dropped, because I was going to say, “Northern Aggression?! Who bombed Fort Sumter?”

  90. God, this is despicable. And you know? I’m not even sure it’s entirely about homophobia anymore, though that’s definitely where it started.

    Doesn’t this just smack- especially in regards to the other kids they didn’t invite- of all the petty cruelties of high school on a grand scale?

    Which is not to say that they shouldn’t be blasted for their homophobia, or that it is unimportant. But to me it seems to also tie into the dynamics of these situations, where certain people are made into social pariahs and others take pleasure in not only excluding them but humiliating them.

    1. Now, now. I know you’re using hyperbole, but this is a tense kind of thread, and we don’t really want to be advocating these kids being killed.

      We want them to suffer. :-)

      Much more painful to have everyone on the web know what little turds they are.

  91. You know, I was originally going to RAGE about how this was just some stupid high school bullshit and why is this news worthy blah blah blah. I mean I though it was really sad, but like didn’t deserve this much attention. But then I realized why it is so sad; all these parents helped with this high school bull shit. Some people never really grow up, I really hate that sometimes.

  92. Why should she have gone to a different school? Why should she have been forced out of the school close to home, to travel sixty miles to a different establishment?

    Oh Rasputin’s Member, what a Nazi you are.
    I’d bet you’d have happily, with your swastika armband proudly raised, said, “I don’t understand why the Jews are complaining, nothing bad would happen to them if they just went voluntarily to Auschwitz.”

    This girl did nothing wrong, she simply stood up for those rights her school told her were enshrined in the constitution.
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
    Maybe not in Fulton.

    1. Wow, I think you go too far here. I think RM is misguided about that suggestion of “just go to a better school,” but calling him a Nazi is wayyy over the top. Out of line, even. He wasn’t suggesting Constance be sent to queer camp.

      Don’t make me call the Mods on you.

  93. nobody likes their apple cart to be upset

    “Garfinkel and his students uncovered standards and boundaries of these orders [of micro interactions] through the use of ‘breaching experiments’ that intentionally violated the norms and conventions of conversation in order to observe people’s responses. On the phone, for example, when people said, ‘Hello, how are you?’ the ethnomethodologists replied, ‘What do you mean, How am I?” At first, people quickly worked to repair the breakdown, but the ethnomethodologists continued to refuse to cooperate. What they discovered in the process was not only how easily simple conversations can be disrupted but how vehemently people reacted to these disruptions. At first, their interaction partners were simply completely confused. Rather quickly, however, they became hostile, indignant, angry. ’What do you mean, What do you mean, How am I?! What is your program!?’ People, Garfinkel reports, were not simply frustrated; they were outraged. For, we can observe, their elementary rules facilitating the enactment of moral order were being violated. Garfinkel was not only being difficult; he was interrupting and desecrating the liturgy of social life.””

    1. Heh. I think it depends how much time you’ve spent with a) non-native speakers of English and b) people on the autism spectrum.

      If I said “how are you?” and someone said “what do you mean, how are you?” I would say “oh, that’s just a conventional social formula. It doesn’t actually mean much of anything” and go on to the real point of the conversation.

  94. I hope the producers and scriptwriters of “Glee” are watching, this would make an awesome episode

  95. +1 on setting up a PayPal account for a Boing-Boing sponsored prom for Candace.

    +10 for Xeni hosting a bbTV segment on it!

  96. What a wonderful way to teach our children tolerance. I would like to personally thank the parents and administration involved in this for unleashing another generation of blind hypocrite sheeple onto society. Sorry I really had nothing to add, but I feel better now

  97. Intolerant people suffer enough as it is. They can’t be happy being paranoid like that. I hope that once they understand how they’re viewed by the rest of the world, the people responsible for this actually learn something from the situation and act accordingly in the future.

    Does positive reinforcement work on correcting intolerance?

  98. God bless America.Think on it, those kids will be able to join in with their parents and vote in 2012 for Sarah Palin and the American Dream.Ouch!

  99. When I was a hippie, we considered proms to be a symbol of the decayed bourgeoisie. We never considered going, even in our blue work shirts.

  100. Some great comments here. Maybe some of them should be directed elsewhere…like this email address for the superintendant of the Itawamba school district…


    I have sent Ms. McNeece my polite hopes for a more open and understanding future for both Constance and the district.

  101. Well, the reply that is above me was certainly angry. Anywhos, almost everyone here has some very logical point of views. She sounds like she is very mature compared to everyone else in her city. The parents did it because they are afraid of things they don’t understand (liking the same sex & the mentally challenged kids as well). I agree it’s not fair. I don’t understand why people can’t just put down differences so life would be less of a hassle. Maybe their stupidity will kill them off slowly but surely.

  102. I can has Paypal link for Candace’s prom fund?

    Seriously, there’s a lot of talk both here and at FDL about throwing her the bash of all bashes. What would it take to make it happen? We’re resourceful people; among us must be event planners, finance experts, designers, DJs, celebrities… Who wants to start raising the money? (I would, except I don’t know from Paypal and it would be best for an expert to handle it.)

    1. In for a penny, in for a pound. Sounds good. I’m not in the right country but I’d contribute to something like that.

    2. In for a penny, in for a pound. Sounds good. I’m not in the right country but I’d contribute to something like that.

  103. Kudos to Constance for sticking to her guns and not backing down in the face of adversity.

    Honestly, if it was me, I would not even care to go to the “private” prom, as it has become quite apparent that most of the kids there are probably just a bunch of mommy- and daddy-imitating douchebags. I understand they are children still, but hell, even in high school MOST kids know better enough than to hate on people to this extent.

    To all the generalizers: I have grown up in the South (elementary and middle school in TN) and in the Midwest (middle and high school in WI), and I must say that bigotry and hatred was present in both places. I have seen it elsewhere, too, obviously. Whoever pointed out that generalizations and misplaced hatred got us in this situation in the first place is right. Remember that. ;D

  104. I know many of you are more FSM fans than of JC and the boys, but from my missive to the Superintendent:

    “Finally, it’s downright unchristian. Jesus didn’t preach to the despised because society misjudged them and he wanted to society the error of their ways. He preached to them *because* they were despised. All of God’s children deserve His love, not regardless of their flaws, but *because* of them. Now, I don’t think this girl is flawed in the slightest, but you do. And in doing so, you have *created* an obligation on your part to care for her, it doesn’t excuse your failure not to. If homosexuals are despised in your community, Jesus would have wanted you (and me) to step up and provide love and caring to them. If the Bible tells us anything, it tells us that.”

    Fuckall, these people piss me off.

  105. You know what would be ironic? If all the commenters who say that it’s okay to ban her from the prom because she’s spoiling the party for all the regular people were to be banned from commenting here because they’re spoiling the party for all the regular people.

    1. Yeah, but then again there’s that whole idea of free speech and wouldn’t that be stooping to their level? To quote Colbert “Damn you, basic human decency!”

      1. But, but, but.. ..that’s the point.

        Antinous is (jokingly) calling for the exact same trade-off of freedoms that those who think it’s ok to do this, are.

      2. wouldn’t that be stooping to their level?

        I have very flexible knees.

        Moderator note: Let’s not re-fight the Civil War. There are enough targets in this story without resorting to South-bashing.

  106. Just donated. Everybody please send development aid to Itawamba, we can’t leave them in the stone age.

  107. The real prom was the one she attended. The other was just a party — and if the parents who funded that party claim otherwise, sounds like the ACLU gets to rip them a new one in court. I’d love to see the ACLU find out who funded the party-that-claimed-to-be-a-prom and bring them before the same judge that ruled the school district couldn’t exclude McMillen from the prom.

    1. Oh, for crying out loud. The ACLU discriminating against an organization based on religious beliefs. Wow.

      1. Heaven forfend that Christians should be offended. The Miss. ACLU is right, surely; being homosexual is one thing, but not believing in God is beyond the pale.

        Why does it always get to the point these days that I feel it’s time to *really* offend somebody?

      2. The MISSISSIPPI ACLU, thank you very much. Just when I thought that this would finally force the local, more tolerant (and mostly silent) folks to speak up and rally around Constance, the local ACLU refuses money because it’s tainted by atheism. I live in Mississippi and think that we could be on to something here, though. Let’s use Rovian tactics and call for/encourage a tea party rally in support of the school district before this incident fades from the media limelight. Hopefully the negative attention would be enough to show the world what these people actually believe and cause them to wake up and be nice…or form lynch mobs. Could go either way, really.

        1. Puggy,

          How about, the ACLU doesn’t want to cause more controversy for this young woman than her town already has. She is currently dealing with being discriminated for being a lesbian, and maybe waving flags about religious freedom can be done some other time, at her choosing.

  108. Sometimes I wish we would have just let the south secede from the union and go down in its own ignorant flames.

      1. They wouldn’t live in the south, they’d live where they would be accepted outside of Jesusland.

        Yes, they’d be refugees… but isn’t she living like a refugee NOW?

        fck th sth

  109. The students at Tam High (Mill Valley, Marin County, CA) have officially invited Ms. McMillen to their upcoming prom. Nice gesture.

  110. Let them do it, but I suppose anyone who is an alum of a college that they are going to should write in to the dean and admissions office asking them to rescind admission. They can say what they want and do what they want privately, but those actions should have repercussions.

  111. one of the funniest outcomes from the FAKE prom was the “memories” pics had girls kissing one another all tongue-y

    so they didn’t get their lesbos-free prom after all!

  112. I laugh really hard at remarks of the classmates complaining that she just did this for the attention. If she was -just- doing this for attention, why did the school assume the course that would give her exactly what she wanted?

    But yeah, Constance will be fine. Better even than the people from Fulton, it would appear.

  113. Nice to see how Cowicide complies with the moderator request to refrain from South-bashing. Stay classy, Cowicide.

  114. As a traditional catholic I believe that homosexual behavior is sinful, but on the grand scale of sins, the sexual are the least grievous (though they do bring the most souls to hell); treachery however is the gravest sin and causes the most damage to society and the soul.

    To do that to a person, let alone a young girl is just disgusting.Those parents should be ashamed of themselves. If we quartered of those parents by each of their sins and treated each of them with wicked disproportionate punishments, I wonder how they would feel. This sort of behavior only perpetuates hatred and rejection of people from society.

    It’s disgusting.

  115. As a point of clarification, the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science is a publicly funded boarding school with admission requirements. Any student in the state of Mississippi can apply for admission, though due to housing restraints only about 150 are admitted in any academic year. Until two years ago all basic costs (books, room, food, administrative and teacher salaries) were paid for by the state. When budget cutbacks forced the school to start charging fees, there were funding drives by outraged alumni in conjunction with school officials to cover those students who had financial needs. It is not a private school.

    1. I stand corrected — and yet, I think my point still stands: she should be able to both be gay and also go to any school while being respected, not segregate herself to avoid mistreatment.

  116. Re: comments about the South. I’m in Tennessee guys. Yes, the south seemingly has more than its fair share of racists and bigots. I grew up in Indiana though and it has its fair share as well.

    I think the bottom line is that where you find intellectual incuriosity, you find bigotry.

  117. Was my previous message held for moderation because of the myspace and facebook links? I provided account information for Gennie Marie Hutson, the gal who set up the Facebook group “Constance quit yer cryin'”.

    1. siliconsunset,

      Just as Xopher says, it was held because it would probably just encourage a witch-hunt. And she’s already getting turfed.

      I’m sure anyone interested can find the link elsewhere.

  118. siliconsunset, maybe it’s not a good idea to post personal information like that. We’re not supposed to harass people, even if they’re bad.

  119. 13tales’ civility is currently unavailable at the moment due to an outbreak of white-hot homicidal fury, and is currently burning bigots at the stake.

    Please leave a message and he will get back to you.

  120. I heard about this on the Savage Love Podcast.

    I worry for us when I hear about stuff like this.
    That the ACLU got involved on the young womans behalf
    and they still found a way to exclude her.

    what is wrong with people?

  121. Amidst all the righteous anger and desire to do good things for Constance, I really hope that the learning disabled kids who only got to go to the “fake prom” get an invite to whatever huge celebrity-studded party is likely in the works at this point.

    I’m all for Constance (my daughter is gay too), but I’d really hate to see those kids left out.

  122. I’m torn about this story. I think it sucks that Constance was initially denied entry into her prom and I think it sucks that she was bait-and-switched on the substitute prom. People, obviously, shouldn’t go to these lengths to deny the prom night experience to any eligible student.

    These kinds of stories happen every year. Last year, there was the story of the high school senior who was told to go to prom only in gender-appropriate attire. If memory serves, a girl wanted to attend prom in a tuxedo the committee involved said that she had to wear a dress.

    But there is an issue here that I believe is being ignored: The rights of the private prom organizers to have a private prom on their terms.
    If a bunch of the Christians in town organized a Christmas party and neglected to invite the non-Christians, it probably wouldn’t have been a big deal. But, in this case, a group of conservative Christians organized a party that only included people who lived up to their standard of excellence and didn’t invite Constance.

    Is their decision one I agree with? No, not at all. Throughout this debacle there were several opportunities for the people associated with this fiasco to show some decency and compassion for this girl.

    They didn’t. Some of them, as others mentioned, went as far as to create Facebook groups mocking her. It is the right of the bigoted party to not invite her to the party as it is also the right of any potential employer or university to accept the bigots who showed their prejudice to this girl and left their fingerprints all over the Internet.

    The pettiness of high school students is one of the reasons I skipped my prom back in the day.

  123. All I can think about the expense and logistics required to organize and execute this dance, done entirely outside the institution, all because they didn’t want one individual and her date to attend. Can we even imagine a reality where humans put even half this effort into including everyone rather than excluding? What does it take to live from an intention that is compassionate and inclusive? To wake up?

  124. Over on a Facebook group about this, there’s a kid from the school who says that people in that town are afraid to leave their homes. Before you say “good,” remember that that includes gay and Lesbian students, and ones who didn’t go to the private prom or have anything to do with it.

    That needs to stop. And I have to say my definition of ‘itawamba’ above was intended to target the school; I forgot that that’s the name of the whole county. The progressive school discussed above is also in that county, so we can’t quite tar with as broad a brush as it seemed at first.

    1. I agree. We should carefully tender our protests and anger so as not to compel others to join the cause out of spite.

  125. Agreed about the south-bashing…I live in sunny Portland, Oregon, a town with a history as violent and bigoted as any other south of Mason-Dixon. Things ain’t always what they seem.

    I think the hubub is not so much about legality (or maybe it is, not a lawyer) but that the parents involved believed the secret prom to be a mature, reasonable response to the scandal. It perpetuates the original misdeed, that of pitching Constance against her peers. Like canceling the prom originally, it creates further stigma. It may be legal, but it was really, really pathetic/hateful. You can be against Constance and her big gay life, but pulling that shit was just below the belt.

    Bottom line: You’re an adult. Why participate in hurting a 16-year-old?

  126. While I support Constances’ rights, in this case I suspect this whole debacle might have been better dealt with by slower, less confrontational means.

    When I first enrolled at my high school, they had a “no same-sex couples” policy on proms etc. Instead of turning it into a huge battle and calling in the legal brigade, the concerned students just began putting pressure on the administration. My final year was the last year the rule was in place.

    Making a big deal out of this situation has turned the whole town into a target for (certain members of) the left and the poor girl into a target for (certain members of) the right. No matter HOW this ends, someone somewhere is going to be very upset.

    To some extent I pity the parents. While they WERE being childish, cruel and petty, dealing with this properly is probably far, far out of their league.

    1. “Making a big deal out of this situation has turned the whole town into a target for (certain members of) the left and the poor girl into a target for (certain members of) the right. No matter HOW this ends, someone somewhere is going to be very upset.”

      This is where I agree completely. One side thinks it is terrible that this girl was not allowed to go to the prom on her terms, the other side thinks it is terrible that their children (they) are being subjected to something they morally object to.

      I respectfully disagree with the parents and students who lined up against this girl, but I understand that they have fears. Religion is supposed to be separate from the public school system in the US, but in a community with a large population attending the same church it is difficult to completely divorce the dominant religion from the local school system. It stinks. It is important to understand that being different in a community that is so uniformly similar to each other and not you, is a reality of the world we live in.

      I’m sure we have heard of communities canceling prom or homecoming because the dominant religion in the community considers dancing to be sinful. I worked in a district that eliminated team sports from physical education classes because there were Muslim students attending the school and physical contact is forbidden according to the officials at the local mosque.

      There is supposed to be a division of church and state in public schools, but school district policy adjustments are often made to make peace with the moral standards where the school is. Many of these standards are based in religion.

      I would like to think that the problem that Constance is experiencing will motivate her to find ways to make her community a better place or motivate her to get the hell out of town.

  127. Did none of the other kids in the school do anything, did they not know, if not that is the more scary thing. The parents bigotry is being carried through. Are there any interviews with any of the other kids in the schools?

  128. Judging by some of the photos that have been screen captured and published the town was probably being very progressive in their minds. They let in a few of the cool black kids, let their kids suck face, dress like whores, dance with members of the same sex, and a fair number of these underagers look like they are bombed. But I am sure that it was a wholesome affair because none of those attending were out of the closet.

    I plan on not having anything to do financially with any business from that state as a result of this towns actions.
    I also plan to oppose the hiring of anyone that comes from that butt crack of a town unless they were at the “lesbian prom”. I would also try to oppose any of them from getting into any schools or any funding for school/business because of their actions.

    I hope she manages to bankrupt the whole damn school board and parents association, professionally and personally, in the damages portion of the trial

  129. Attention outraged rednecks:

    The fact that a town 60 miles away isn’t full of bigots doesn’t make your bigotry any more acceptable.

    Apparently you don’t get this.

  130. This still pisses me off. Wrote about it on my blog a few weeks ago. As a school teacher I try very hard to teach my students about treating everyone with respect and dignity. Apparently some schools will never believe this.

  131. Wayyyyy back in the mid-90s, I attended most of high school in the rural south east. I considered the school backwards and bumblefuck, terrible academically overall (but with a few bright spots), and I considered the local culture to be highly bigoted and diseased. When I moved there from the west coast, I was appalled and surprised at the racism. I couldn’t believe there were separate Prom King and Queen elections for “White” and “Black” (and that those really were the only races in town, with very few exceptions). Confederate pride was heavy in that place. One friend, who performed the highest in the school academically later came out of the closet in college… he did not *dare* do so in high school, as I recall rumors that a gay student was beaten to death *at* the school in the early ’90s.

    There is a real and distinct culture in the South. It does have some good aspects. I happen to enjoy some fried food. I happen to believe in property rights, stand-your-ground laws, and I very much appreciate the self-reliance and DIY general know-how that accompanies some rural lifestyles. There are other aspects of thought, very closely tied to southern and rural areas and cultures, that are flat-out reprehensible and need to go…. the racism, the concern for the orientation of others, the religious tendency toward theocracy, the anti-intellectualism. I really had no idea that *adults* could be so childish and mentally broken until I moved to the South. I realized then that Jerry Springer’s show featured *real* people with *real* problems.

    The only solution I can see is a massive increase in educational standards, pushed from the federal level, and some funding to go with it. Start with paying educated, mentally-operational teachers reasonably, and weeding out the rest. Start mandating more advanced curricula. Most of what I “learned” in grades 10-12 in the south were things I learned in grades 6-8 in the west. When the people of this area are educated at a level below that of other areas, of course there will be differences in economic productivity, success, happiness, and garbage infecting their culture.

    I don’t condemn everyone living in the South, everyone born in the South, or every southern community. But it is *obvious* that the southern culture at large can and should begin to catch up with what others achieved in the late 20th century.

    1. I had a gay friend that was beaten up regularly (mississippi). One day a gentle giant of a stoned guitarist snapped and nearly destroyed two rednecks with a chair for fucking with Chris. It was strangely beautiful violence, like the end of apocalypse now.

  132. Hey sister. I grew up in mississippi. Spend your twenties in the bay area. That’s my advise. The change’ll do ya good! :)

    hugs and kisses.

  133. Since they’ve elected to stereotype gays and LD kids, I feel free to stereotype them as what they are.

    You remind me of the woman I met when I first came to the NY area, who said she knew I’d be a racist (I’m not) because I had blond hair, blue eyes, and a Midwestern accent.

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