Derrick Martin Is 18 and Already a Better Human Being Than His Parents, School Administrators

It’s getting really annoying that young Americans continue disproving our theory that they are whiny, self-entitled stains on society. Like Derrick Martin here, the 18-year-old Georgian high school senior who battled to take his boyfriend to the prom, won, only to get kicked out of his parents’ house because of all the media fracas. Speaking of media fracas? The above interview.

Derrick? It’s folks like you, and Constance McMillen, and Cynthia Stewart, who are our heroes. Meanwhile, it’s your your high school administrators that need educating — even Derrick’s, whose school district says they’re only letting him take a gay date because they don’t have rules to prohibit it, and not because they “approve” of any particular “lifestyle.”

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  • Lanjier

    He is a true patriot, paving the way for freedom for generations of gay Georgians.

  • Lukesaysmoo

    Love his accent. Yum. And he’s doing a good thing – and doing it big. Good work Derek – keep up the fight.

  • Lukesaysmoo

    Apparently I need to learn to pay attention – Derek is a guy I work with and Derrick is the guy in the video.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    I didn’t know it took 3 months to get approval. This is a vital bit of information people should have included for those who wonder why it is such a big deal.

  • damendo

    Derrick is one of those people that can certainly pave the way for the younger generation of gays. Especially in a state like Georgia where they are still very “back-asswards”. I live in Texas, and it the same. For myself (a 45 year old gay man), I would have never dreamed about taking my boyfriend to the prom. Yes this is a new generation, however in the South, things havent changed enough to accept that. Look at the response he got from the school district! Good job Derrick, proud of you boy!

  • Chance

    It’s great that Derrick was able win the legal battle and set a precedent. But don’t for one second get confused that his legal victory is the actual goal. His parents still kicked him out, 65% of his community still believes gays shouldn’t get prom (see the very end of that video clip), and his school board issued a reluctant and insulting statement about those damn courts workin’ ‘gainst Georgia’s morals. I’m glad that Derrick gets to have prom, but he and thousands of others like him still have to grow up in those towns with those people, no matter what the laws say. He was brave and strong enough to get through it. Too many LGBT youth are not.

    Changed laws don’t mean victory. Changed hearts do. We have a lot of work ahead of us.

  • Michael W.

    He’s so cute and white.

  • ChicagoJimmy

    @Chance: Changed hearts don’t provide equal rights or equal treatment under the law. Changed laws do that. The school statement is correct. It isn’t the place of the school to approve or disapprove the way anyone lives their life, it is the school’s responsibility to treat everyone equally under the law.

    I love this young man, and I’m proud of him and his boyfriend for standing up for themselves. Keep it up! Know that your life up to this point has followed a path chosen for you by others. Now, adulthood is right around the corner and you’ll get to choose your own way, your own friends, your own surroundings, and build your own family. Keep making smart and brave choices and you’ll go far.

  • Rasa

    Thank you, Derrick.

    I wish you the very best. It sounds like a time of triumph and challenge for one who is relatively young. I hope that you will find lots of support from people who have your best interests at heart.

    I am 53 years old and when I was in high school (in the south), I was so far away from being able to even think of doing what you’ve done!

    It’s an amazing time we live in now– and our society is waking up to basic human rights issues– even in the face of the big “bug a boo” sexuality.

    We still deal with racism and phobias of all kinds, but because of people like you, the word continues to spread– and there is more room in hearts and minds for tolerance, acceptance, and compassion.

    Fear is something that we all have to deal with in all sorts of ways– Our own and other peoples’ as well…

    One day at a time, people like you are making a huge contribution to dispel the kinds of fear that would make us think we have nothing in common as human beings on this planet.

    Progress is happening…

    AND we need to continue find the best and most effective ways to step forward — for ourselves and each other.

    Thanks for your courage. I hope we’ll be seeing more of you!

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @ChicagoJimmy: Since Chance, based on previous encounters, seems to be of the gays who are seeking acceptance rather than equality, I think that’s where the confusion lies. The truth is you can’t change people’s minds. You can only change the laws. Some things are a matter of politics- changing laws being one of them. Some are cultural. We can’t control the later. Although conservatives do like to use laws to try to control the cultural.

  • Jon

    I just hope all the kids all have a great time at the prom. Mr. Martin gets nothing but heartfelt support from those of us observing from the sidelines. . .The above interview kinda just shows that he thinks his parents are being dumbasses.

    The unfortunate reality is the preponderance of homeless GLBT youth because of dumbass parents, which I still can’t seem to grasp. . .what frakkin year is it?

  • Chris

    He’s so adorable, I could just eat him up…….

  • Chance

    @D’oh, The Magnificent: Thanks for speaking for me D’oh. That makes it easier.

    So if, as you suggest, we can’t change people’s minds, what’s the point of the two-prong lobbying/demonstration approach you’ve been advocating (without basis) in so many other threads? If we can’t change people’s minds, why bother with all the theatrics to change politicians’ minds? I know politicians’ may seem sub-human at times, but let’s be realistic.

    You say you want legal equality, but you aren’t even interested in considering the effectiveness of your methods, preferring to charge ahead blindly without any drip of accountability. That puts your actual interest in legal equality, or at least your sincerity, in doubt.

    You’re mistaken if you think laws mean equality. Laws only provide legal equality, which is far too easy to maneuver around in most cases.

    Full equality means that we are equal members of society, not just some protected class. Derrick is not equal to any heterosexual siblings he might have, because they weren’t kicked out of the house. That is not resolved through legal change, but cultural change. A trans person applying for a job, who is told “we went with a ‘more qualified’ candidate,” is not equal to the cisgender applicant. That is not resolved through legal change, but cultural change. Legal equality does not take away the stigma that still persists for LGBT people. Full equality does,

    How in the world can you justify the idea that we can’t create cultural change? Have you heard of TV? Film? Internet? Conversations with friends?

    Where did the 10 year old in Arkansas get the idea to stop reciting the pledge of allegiance, if not from cultural progress?

    There’s a world outside of Congress, D’oh. You’re invited to join it.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Chance: You are not a logical person. When I speak of changing laws and convincing people to change laws, that’s not the same subject as can we change the way people think. Those are two separate topics. You remind me of the Christians who go vote on gay marriage because the Bible says homosexuality who can not separate out what the Bible may say from what laws say. Those are two different things. Enough people fortunately understand that laws are not the same thing as thought to understand that laws should not harm people regardless of what we may think. A lot of people were for black civil rights who nevertheless were not and continue to to be friends with people of color and hold even prejudicial views toward them. In your mind, that means they must want the law to say that Jim Crow should still exist. One is not the same as the other. Get it yet?

  • Jon

    Every time I see the term “cisgender” in a comment thread I quit.

  • Chance

    @D’oh, The Magnificent: No, I’m sorry, that was so poorly written I couldn’t even begin to hack my way through the thicket. Proofread it, try again, and maybe we can have a discussion.

  • Josh AZ

    Laws? We want laws to make us equal?

    Speeding is a law. People speed. Laws do not change minds or behaviors.

    Ask Blacks how the Civil Rights Act of 1963 changed minds about racism. Racism still exists in 35% of Americans.

    Laws can only punish bad behavior. They won’t make us equal. They won’t create equality anymore than the Civil Rights Act could end racism.

    Laws can’t make us “equal,” only people can. Racism has declined for 75% of Americans to 35% of Americans today. Old people and old ideas are dying and that is the changing of society, not laws.

    Why do so many in the GLBT community insist on being forever defined as a weak minority? I don’t want to be protected, I’d rather be equal.

  • Jason_UT

    @D’oh, The Magnificent: Wtf? You get the incoherent award for that. I have no idea what you were trying to say.

  • terrwill

    How do two inbred, hatefull, vile Parents produce such a brave, intelligent, couragous kid??????

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Jason_UT: It is only incoherent to someone who is not smart enough to understand that Chance is conflating concepts. If you are smart enough to realize that, then what I wrote makes perfect sense.

  • hephaestion

    If HRC had any sense they’d be selling posters of Derrick Martin & Dan Choi to raise awareness, raise money for the HRC, and raise money for Derrick & Dan. I’d buy about 12 posters of each.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Jason_UT: In fact, if you read his post or the other idiot, thinking they make a lot of sense, then that sums up why you don’t get that laws are meant to control behavior not thinking. People can think I want to kill someone all they want. They simply can’t actually go out to do kill someone.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    One final point: The civil rights laws we have today came into existence in the 1950s and 60s. There are still people running around calling people the “n” word and who are bigots. The laws didn’t end bigotry. It ended their ability to discriminate in terms of actions against someone else. In other words, someone can still think I am a “n” all they want. They simply can’t fire me based on that belief.

  • Chance

    @D’oh, The Magnificent: But they can sure as hell not hire you and cook up an explanation. Maybe it’s the color of your… resume. And if they want to fire you, they’ll find a reason.

    But at least you have the law.

    Me, I’d rather target the bigotry. I would rather walk down a bigot-free street, than to knowing that I’m hated and that the only thing keeping the wolves at bay is the possibility of a legal consequence – that is, if they’re caught.

    I’m still waiting for your rewrite. It really didn’t make any sense, and clearly I’m not the only one who thinks so. Focus that critical eye you’re so famous for.

  • Jay

    Hes so cute though. How could you kick out a face like that? When will parents realize that gays make the best kids? lol

  • Snownova

    I approve of his high schools stance, indifference is exactly what we need. We don’t want to be treated differently, just equally.

  • Craig

    Ugh. He just HAD to say “African American” in his retort about ‘rights’ and whatnot, didn’t he? So cliche. I was with him until he did that.


    @Michael W.:
    “He’s so cute and white.”
    Precisely why he is getting this much attention! There are countless gay youths like him ACTUALLY ON THE STREETS and he gets attention because he is “Yum”? The emphasis the gay community puts on aesthetics is disheartening, truly! Shame, shame on us indeed!


    He sounds a little too much like Clay Aiken when he talks. I guess that’s why they call it “the DEEP south…”

  • jason

    Definitely a true pioneer. All these people who are brave enough to stand up to social injustices are real heroes. =D

  • Gunni

    Good bloke, what worries me is the poll at the very end with 65% saying homosexual dates shouldn’t be aloud. Rubbish.

  • JR

    Despite what has been argued here, you CAN change the way people think.

    Many of us changed our family, friends, and even relative strangers when we came out or they learned we are gay, that despite their beliefs they knew, perhaps even cared about a gay person.

    The media has changed some viewers by showing a more faceted representation than those who hate us or, forgive me, the average gay pride parade can do.

    Even those who commit crimes against us can change the way some people think through the inhumanity of their actions, provoking reflection and self-analysis in others.

    Humans are, or certainly should be, constantly changing, growing, reassessing. I’m more fiscally and socially conservative than I once was. Styles I once thought were horrible are now in my closet–and I can almost guarantee they’ll be horrible again in a few years. And even my own opinions about being gay have changed over the years.

    As for Mr. and Mrs. Martin, they have already proven they are capable of changing. Yesterday they loved their son; today, some would argue, they do not. But change is perpetual and there are plenty of tomorrows.

  • Darren

    This kid has real guts, his parents should be ashamed of themselves and so should the school that he goes to.

    They act like he has a choice, all he is doing is being true to himself, his parents should be proud that he has the courage of his convictions.

    I am English and I feel its incredible that people still act this way, when I took a guy to my school graduation party (at 16), yes I got some odd looks and a few comments, but the school didn’t say a word against it, its only a big deal if they make it one.

    Surely in the age of twitter, facebook and youtube they had to realise this would get tons of media attention and none of it good, all they had to say was that as a public school we support and respect the rights of our students to be who they are and as such they can invite who they want to their dance. They would have been applauded instead of vilified.

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