Prom Night Blues

19 Mar

I am sure you remember it like it was yesterday. For weeks, maybe even months, the anticipation and excitement consumed your every waking moment. Your tiny teenage brain was lost in a constant state of daydreaming and questioning. “Will he ask me?” “Will she say yes?” “Should we go with other couples?” “How about a limo?” “I think I would look awesome in a blue tuxedo.” “God, I hope he doesn’t think I am going with him if he wears that ugly ass blue tuxedo.” All the hoping, praying, and preparation culminated into one semi-special night. That’s right, Prom Night. You asked her. She said yes. The hard part was over. She gets her nails and hair done. You take a shower. She slides on a dress. You decide not to wear that blue leisure suit and sport a proper tuxedo instead. Corsages and boutonnieres are exchanged. Giddy parents snap off thousands of photos. You and your date arrive to the dance, hand the chaperons your advance tickets, and off you go into that magical land called Prom. All and all, pretty standard and smooth sailing. Now, as stressful as the preparation and anticipation of that night was, (not to mention the stress of just being a teenager in the first place) imagine getting to the door, having the chaperons eyeball you and your date, watch them whisper into each others ears, and deny you access. Stunned, you ask them “What’s the problem?”. They look you square in the eye and tell you and your date, “We don’t like your kind of “couple”.  You try to argue. You try to get a better explanation, but are ordered to leave. You can see the tears rolling down your date’s face. Angry and defeated you make your way back to your car, turn the key, and reluctantly leave. Now, sit back and imagine how that must feel.  A little bit crushing, huh? You see, for a young teenager at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi, the aforementioned scenario never made it that far. For Constance McMillen, she didn’t even get the chance to get her hair done. She didn’t even get the chance to go shopping for that special dress. Why you ask? Because Constance wanted to take her girlfriend to the Prom. As a young teenager, Constance was comfortable enough in her own skin to ask permission from the Itawamba County School Board to have her girlfriend accompany her to Prom. In true blind bigot fashion, the request was promptly denied. The message was loud and clear. “We don’t like or approve of your kind here”. When the courageous Ms. McMillen pressed the issue, the School Board fired back. To avoid so-called “Distractions”, the Itawamba County School Board canceled the entire Prom. Now, not only Constance and her date were denied a proper Prom, but everyone in the school was denied one as well. So, what do you think has happened to Constance at school? Yep, you guessed it. She has been constantly harassed and bullied by the other students.  “Thanks for ruining my Senior year”, barked one student. Imagine the weight on her shoulders. Imagine a whole school coming down on you for wanting to be with her significant other at your Senior Prom. Now that the story has gained national attention, I am sure the pressure has been unfathomable for her. Still, Constance has stuck to her guns and has refused to give up. This, in itself, is just absolutely amazing. As a proud parent of two small children, I can only hope that they grow up to have at least an ounce of courage that this young woman has. As parents, we have a duty to protect and fight for what our children believe in. Gay, straight, or whatever, Constance is setting a wonderful example of strength and dedication. Today, more than ever, Constance needs all the support she can get. So let your voice be heard. Join Constance and thousand of others in the every day struggle for equal rights for everyone. Not just a few. Not just a select. FOR EVERYONE.

Now is the time to rally around Constance and let her know that millions of good, loving people on her side. Take some time out of your day to email, call, or fax the Itawamba Schools superintendent, Teresa McNeece and/or donate to one of the awesome organizations listed below. I implore you to do something. Don’t be silent. Don’t just take this injustice sitting down.  I will hop off of my soapbox now. Now, get out there and make a difference!

E-mail, call, and fax Itawamba Schools superintendent Teresa McNeece (tmcneece@itawamba.k12.ms.us, phone 662-862-2159 ext. 14, fax 662-862-4713) and Itawamba Agricultural principal Trae Wiygul (twiygul@itawamba.k12.ms.us, 662-862-3104). Then join the Facebook page “Let Constance Take Her Girlfriend to Prom.” And, finally, make donations to the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition (www.mssafeschools.org), which is organizing an alternate prom that will welcome all students, and make a larger donation to the ACLU LGBT Project (www.tinyurl.com/yl9mvkb), which is defending Constance and other gay teenagers across the country.

(A big thank you to Mr. Dan Savage (Savage Love) for posting this important and useful information on his weekly column!)

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4 Responses to “Prom Night Blues”

  1. Tracey March 19, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    I wrote a letter. It really sickens me how horrible our universe is, how close minded and hurtful people can be. I really appreciate the people in my life that are as open minded and accepting as you and your lovely wife. And to think you guys are doing your part in bring two more people into this universe that won’t be horrible. I think the answer to all of this is education. People are scared of what they don’t know. Educating people is the only way to change things. Great blog Teej!

    • studioeightonesix March 19, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

      Thanks, Tracey. I think the responsibility falls on everyone out there to speak up for what they believe in. Hopefully, some good dialog comes from this. Be sure to repost this blog!

  2. Chris Baldwin March 20, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    I just can’t even understand why they wouldn’t let her go. The whole thing is absolutely awful. She is one courageous girl!!!

  3. Tracey March 20, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

    I saw her bit on Ellen and she said that she WAS allowed to go with her GF but they could not go as dates. They could not hold hands or slow dance. And she was not allowed to wear her tux… so still discrimination at it’s worst.

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