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New York Times on Prom Discrimination

March 30, 2010

The New York Times ran an editorial today addressing the issue of discrimination at high school proms, following the incident in which a Mississippi high school first barred a lesbian couple from attending the prom and then cancelled it to avoid conflict.  Constance McMillen, the student involved, has taken a very visible  and very admirable stand and has gone on TV with Ellen DeGeneres and Wanda Sykes, among others.  From the editorial:

A Mississippi school board was grossly discriminatory and mean-spirited when it told Constance McMillen that she could not attend her high school prom with her girlfriend. A ruling by a federal judge that Ms. McMillen’s constitutional rights had been violated is a welcome sign that gay people are continuing to make progress toward equality. It should also be a warning to school districts nationwide about the cost of discrimination.

The other prom story that I have yet to cover is the story of Derrick Martin who, after a three month struggle, was allowed by his school to bring a same sex date, but was later kicked out of his parent’s home.  Video is here.

This may not seem like a big deal to some or a battle worth fighting, but even beyond the principle of the matter, it sets a context for understanding gay couples from a younger age.  Visibility and familiarity are the best ways we can increase acceptance and understanding.

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