mean girls

Ceara Sturgis’ High School Refused to Run Her Tuxedo Picture in the Yearbook. Or Even Mention Her Name


Not only did Wesson Attendance Center, the Mississippi high school, refuse to run Ceara Sturgis’ photo in the annual yearbook, it refused to even mention the fact that she was part of this year’s graduating class. Indeed, the lesbian teen who wanted to wear a tux in her yearbook photo has been scrapped from the book entirely.

After reaffirming its decision not to include Sturgis’ picture, Wesson administrators went ahead with publishing the yearbook. It was released to students on Friday. Sturgis’ name is nowhere to be found.

“They didn’t even put her name in it,” Sturgis’ mother Veronica Rodriguez said. “I was so furious when she told me about it. Ceara started crying and I told her to suck it up. Is that not pathetic for them to do that? Yet again, they have crapped on her and made her feel alienated.”

Sturgis and her mother commissioned the Mississippi ACLU to protest officials’ October 2009 decision not to allow Sturgis’ photo to appear in the senior yearbook because she chose to wear a tuxedo instead of a dress.

The ACLU wrote an October letter demanding officials use Sturgis’ submitted photo in the yearbook, but Copiah County School District officials refused. Rodriguez said she expected the yearbook to at least contain a reference to her daughter on the senior page. What she discovered on Friday, when the yearbook came in, was that the school had refused to acknowledge her entirely.

“It’s like she’s nobody there, even though she’s gone to school there for 12 years,” Rodriguez said. “They mentioned none of her accolades, even though she’s one of the smartest students there with wonderful grades. They’ve got kids in the book that have been busted for drugs. There’s even a picture of one of the seniors who dropped out of school.

“I don’t get it. Ceara is a top student. Why would they do this to her?”

The school won’t comment. The ACLU has yet to indicate whether it’ll pursue further legal action. This just makes me sick. If you’re interested, Ronald Greer (Attendance Center Principal) can be reached here; Oscar Hawkins (High School Principal) can be reached here; and the school’s phone number is (601) 643-2221.

[Jackson Free Press]

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  • Mike L.

    This is horrible, stupid fkng homophobes!

    Poor girl, I feel so bad for her.

  • scott ny'er

    that’s effed up.

    her school sucks.

  • Cam

    Just more of the inbred bigots in Mississippi. Notice how they did similar to what happened to the girl who wanted to attend her prom…they just kind of stay quiet and then spring something that they think is clever on the person (Fake Prom, no picture). In the south a TRUE southerner in the vein of those folks would be embarassed and ashamed and never bring up the issue again. THAT is why they were so shocked at the girl with the prom, and why they kept saying she “Only wanted attention” when she pushed forward with her lawsuit. Those people running the schools there are pathetic, no wonder they live in a state that gave former Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon David Duke 12% of the vote when he ran for President.

  • Andy

    Your taxes at work.

  • AlwaysGay

    Yet another heterosexual-only action in Mississippi. It’s discrimination. The heterosexuals didn’t want a gay person to ruin their heterosexual-only fantasies like they did with Constance McMillen.

  • imho116

    HEY why don’t either of the “can be reached here” links in the above article work? I was going to send them a message to let them know someone thinks they suck… but neither link works… now THAT sucks!

  • Tartuffe

    This is so disgusting.

  • jeffree

    Who calls a school an “Attendance Center”? Sounds like people just attend and dont get educated.

    Lets hope the ACLU pursues legal action.

    I honestly can’t think of any possible logic behind leaving her out of the yearbook other than blatant homophobia. We had a few kids who didn’t get fotos taken because they were suspended or sick, whatever, but they were listed & so it just said “No picture available”

  • merkin

    Putting the lesbian issue aside–is this school so up its own ass that it can’t allow a photo of a woman in a bowtie? I remember my senior photos–they put our heads in front of a cutout of a tux. And the girls had to disrobe to their shoulders and wear some retarded velvet smock that was supposed to approximate a dress, I guess. Yep, some real powerfully important family values there!

    I just wish the Ceara Sturgises and Constance McMillans of this country realize how UNINMPORTANT high school is in the grand scheme of things and that anyone who thinks high school was the best and most important time of their lives is a complete loser.

  • brihova

    She’s like 10x’s hotter than Justin Bieber and has the same hair cut. She needs a record deal STAT!!!!

  • B

    No. 12 ยท Tokkar — thanks for the corrected email addresses. I just sent them a “nastygram” that, while not actually nasty, was dripping with sarcasm. It included a link to a video showing a famous actress (year: 1930) wearing a tux and giving another woman a kiss on the lips – as part of a nightclub act in a classic film
    (nominated for four academy awards and selected for film preservation by the Library of Congress in 1992).


    I can definatley relate………..I was taking baby steps out of the closet in High School. I didn’t make an official announcment, but most everyone knew which team I played for. Despite some of the haters, I was elected Vice President of the Student Union. The ASSistant Principal who was advisor to the Student Union asked me point blank one day and I said yes I was a Gay boy. He told me that “because of my position” it was imperitive that I not make “any public announcment” and made veiled threats that people who “draw too much attention to themselves are not looked on favorably by College admissions offices”. I debated making a stink but I still hadn’t come out to my family, so I kinda played by his rules..We took pictures for the yearbook with all the officers of the Student Union together in a group photo. When the yearbook came out, there was another picuture there without me! Sad to think that this shit is a lot more commonplace than I ever thought. If I knew then what I know now, I would have raised holy hell……………

  • Mi Whang

    Okay, apparently no one is actually looking at the yearbook from Wesson Attendance Center. I have…and Ceara IS in fact in the year book. The only thing that seems to be missing is her “senior photo” with the senior spread. She is in the year book in the baby photos page, her band photo, soccer photo, the who’s who, prom pictures, and a “senior page”. In my yearbooks, some of those was clear recognition of being a senior, because of the word senior included in “senior page” and “senior baby photos”…and lets not forget prom. At least, Ceara got to go to the “REAL” prom unlike the poor Constance girl that got tricked out of her’s. And Ceara even wore her tux. I might also include, that she is shown wearing a tux in both the prom pictures and “senior page”. And no one actually knows if Ceara was being discriminated on as a lesbian. If a straight girl would have been allowed a senior photo in a tux, I would say “yes she was” and how crappy the situation is. But, there was no straight girls in tuxes. It seems to me that Ceara is just another victim of southern fried tradition, from the bible belt…not discrimination. Also, Ceara might have had the choice to just do a faceshot after she was refused to be shown in a tux (my senior picture was just a faceshot). Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Ceara say in previous interviews that she tried on the dress and didn’t want to wear a dress because its not what she was comfortable in and it looked stupid? A face shot can be done in jeans and a t-shirt, which is much more comfortable than a tux in my opinion.

    It seems to me that either the writers or the source for the article has made it look like Ceara was not in the yearbook, what-so-ever, when she in fact is. I don’t know if this is writer oversight or source’s lies, but it should be noted somewhere that she’s in the yearbook, just not the senior spread. Now, I’m no lawyer, but this may be considered a liable/slander situation.

    And one more thought to ponder is: “Why are these articles and protests just now coming up?” This family knew, back in October of 09, the school’s position and the lack of senior photo in the yearbook. (Also according to previous articles and interviews.) The yearbooks have been printed and handed out…it cannot be changed. I was always under the impression that a protest was done when changes CAN be made.

  • Moemoe

    so sorry this is such a load of crap…my daughter was treated like a leper when she came out..moved her from this town and she is happier than ever now..hang in there…

  • Moemoe

    @Mi Whang call it what you want it is still discrimination..i put up with crap like this with my child and it doesn’t make it any better to call it tradition..

  • Brian

    @imho116: Probably because they were being bombed with emails. They either changed their email addresses or their mail boxes are full or their server failed.

  • Mi Whang

    How can you call it discrimination in the first place? Show me at least one student in that school that was allowed to bend or break the said tradition, and I will fully agree that Ceara was discriminated upon. But you can’t. EVERY Senior was held to the same guidelines for the portrait as Ceara. It wouldn’t be fair to other students if Ceara was allowed to wear something different from the approved standard, and the other students we’re forced to wear it. I’m sure not every senior there wanted to wear the approved outfit for the picture, but they still did. And don’t get me wrong…if Ceara chooses to be gay, then by all means; more power to her. And I really hate that the traditions and standards of the whole school affect her in such a negative way. BUT! Life is full of rules, standards and traditions that SOMEONE is going to have a problem with. Its life. Like her mother said…she’s just gonna have to suck it up. When she’s actually being discriminated against…and in a situation thats more life concerning than just high school…like a high-paying job, or great education that leads to said job…then fight your little heart out for it, and you will have my full support. But a highschool yearbook picture seems a little too unimportant to me. She only had about 9 months from the first day of school to be done with highschool and move on with her life. Why not just get it done and best as possible and go be a successful person? Now if all this was something that could prevent her from getting her highschool education…I would be singing a different tune.

  • carsen tyler

    @Mi Whang: Sorry but your senior yearbook photo is a big deal, it is what people will see when they go back looking for you. And people use it for important stuff, how many documentaries on important people have you seen where they use the yearbook as a reference, a lot of them do. My big brother/mentor is transgender FTM and attended an all girl school, the school made it a point to include a senior photo of him in a suit with his real name; it still means the world to him and that was 7 years ago. Plus we had a lot of lesbians go with suits and our school allowed it because they know that the yearbook is important and they want to ensure that everyone’s true selves are allowed to participate. If a Catholic All Girl School is willing to find a compromise, surely a public school can.

  • Breeder

    This is a crock. As if the girl won’t run into enough adversity from an ignorant world, let’s just start her off in life with this crap. Someone should start a college fund for her. And then after college, elect her to the school board.

  • knows it

    lets get some things straight…this girl use to be a cheerleader at her own school…skirt and all…now she’s makin a big deal about wearin a drape for her senior picture?…little hippo if you ask me…thank god graduation will soon be over so we wont have to listen to this —- anymore…it’s frustrating when others who are so ready to pass judgement on an excellent school don’t know all the facts…..

  • s

    Ronald Greer (601) 643-8837 1021 Vandorn St, Wesson, MS 39191-9111

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