Why Can’t This Mississippi Teen Bring a Date to Prom? Because She Wants to Bring Her Girlfriend, And Wear a Tux
With spring upon us, it means one thing for high school students: prom. And prom season means one thing for LGBT teens: Fussing over whether they can bring a homogay as their date. We’ve already learned how much some school administrators hate this, like the Alabama high school that tried — before backtracking — keeping Cynthia Stewart from bringing another girl. And now Itawamba Agricultural High School, in rural Fulton, Mississippi, joins the list of public schools refusing to let gay teens bring gay dates.
Constance McMillen and her lesbian prom date hopeful are both Itawamba students, and McMillen planned on showing up in a tux. But administrators have banned same-sex dates in the past, and in early February circulated a memo (PDF) reminding students about “acceptable” dates — only after McMillen met with the assistant principal and the superintendent about her proposed evening. She was told she would not be allowed to arrive with her girlfriend, that she could not wear a tux to the prom, and her girlfriend could be thrown out of the April 2 event if any students reported they felt “uncomfortable” around them.
Cue the ACLU’s involvement, which has a whole string of First Amendment-Meets-Prom lawsuits to fall back on: “Schools that discriminate against lesbian, gay, and bisexual students who want to bring same-sex dates to school dances need to know that by doing so they’re violating established federal law, and we will call them on it.”
McMillen, who is 18, says, “Prom is one of those high school moments everyone should get to experience and enjoy. I didn’t go to prom last year, so this is my only chance to go. We just want to be able to be ourselves at our own prom.” ‘Atta girl.