Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gender and Sexuality at Prom: The Good, the Bad and the Awesome

This year students across the country made it pretty damn clear that prom is not just about finding a date and the perfect dress - its has become a political statement about who you can date and what you can wear openly.

Constance McMillian wanted to bring her gilfriend to prom. When she couldn't, she got the ACLU on her side, and thousands of others, and even that was not enough to get the school district to treat her with respect (though it did get a bill proposed in the Senate - woo!).

Omar Bonilla ran for prom queen and came very close to winning, but was suddenly suspended two days before prom for a questionable parking violation

Derrek Lutz not only won his right to wear a dress, he was crowned Prom King:

Prom wasn't the first time Derrek expressed his identity in front of classmates and school administrators. Last month he did it with an entire posse:

Extra points for the awesome and crass intro. But, is it just me, or does it look a little bit like the writers of Glee found some inspiration there for this week's episode?

Speaking of Glee, I cannot express how happy I am that this clip was aired in primetime, particularly now when students like Derrek, Constance and Omar are in the press.

Yeah, grab a tissue. And then do what you can to make sure the kids you know are safe and supported.

What students like Derrek are doing is incredibly brave, because even if you have a posse of backup dancers (or in Constance's case, lawyers) doesn't mean everyone in the school supports you, obviously the administration had to be convinced. Furthermore, not going to prom isn't the only threat students face.

I am in awe of these students that are using what has been one of the most heteronormative high school rites of passage and turning it on its head, making it inclusive and representative of who they and their fellow students are.

1 comment:

be nice.


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