high school

How Come Straight Girls Get to Go To Prom With Other Ladies, But Not Lesbians Like Constance McMillen?

With the ACLU planning to file suit against Itawamba Agricultural High School for canceling its senior prom instead of letting 18-year-old senior Constance McMillen take her girlfriend, even the national media has been all over the “Should gays dates be banned from prom?” fiasco. McMillen even scored herself a Today show appearance, and if she plays her cards right, she’ll get a four-page spread to model prom gowns in Seventeen. But aren’t critics of McMillen — namely, her high school administrators — forgetting that girls go to prom with other girls all the time?

Whether it’s because they are dateless or just want to send the message that “we don’t need boys,” straight girls have been arriving to hotel reception halls in limos, sans men, for decades. There has never been any serious criticism of this choice, at least no more than creepy father-daughter dance events. Not only do these girls sometimes arrive together, often, they dance together too!

Which is worth noting, because Itawamba High specifically told McMillen she cannot arrive with her same-sex girlfriend (who is also a student there, and whose name is, curiously, missing from press reports), and she will be asked to leave the prom if other students report they are made “uncomfortable” around McMillen and her date, presumably while they are dancing together and getting all lez. (Administrators warned McMillen, because McMillen first approached them to address the school’s prior ban on gay prom dates.)

The only part of this straight girl v. gay girl analogy that doesn’t completely mesh is McMillen’s desire to wear a tux to the prom. But how many high school teenagers, rather than wear a customary tuxedo or prom dress, opt for something bizarre like an outfit made entirely out of duct tape, or a T-shirt with a tux design ironed on to it? At plenty of proms, non-customary dress is as expected as awkwardly posed photos.

The idea that two teenage girls going to prom together is some abhorrent act worth canceling prom over is as ridiculous as a a girl staying home on prom night because she doesn’t have a date. Just go. Dance. Be with friends. And luckily, there are plenty of folks who want to make that happen.