According to The Advocate, and the young woman herself:
To avoid Constance McMillen bringing a female date to her prom, the teen was sent to a "fake prom" while the rest of her class partied at a secret location at an event organized by parents.
McMillen tells The Advocate that a parent-organized prom happened behind her back — she and her date were sent to a Friday night event at a country club in Fulton, Miss., that attracted only five other students. Her school principal and teachers served as chaperones, but clearly there wasn't much to keep an eye on.
According to an AP News story a school district in Mississippi has canceled its senior prom rather than let a lesbian in a tuxedo attend with her female partner. Because they were not allowed to discriminate and keep the two young women out they decided to keep everybody out and just shut down the event. In other words, homophobia and heterosexism are being used to keep straight kids from having their quintessential high school ritual. And they ought to be furious.
Their fury should be directed at the Itwamba County school district, not at Constance McMillen and her partner. All they did was stand up for their rights to attend together as other couples may, and to dress as they wanted, as other couples do. In fact, they only intended to dress in exactly the same types of outfits as other couples. (I'm sure the school board wouldn't have been any happier had they wanted to each wear a prom gown.)
I applaud Constance's parents for supporting her and telling her to return to school after the decision, retaining her pride in who she is and in the knowledge that her courage in standing up for her rights will help others who come after her. Many of us are not so brave.
I am disgusted by the bigotry and small-mindedness of the Itawamba County School Board. When the option of discrimination was taken off the table they chose to deny everyone their prom experience just to make certain that the lesbian couple were denied their rights. The only way to rightfully discriminate against Constance and her partner was to punish the straight kids too. So that's what they did.
Constance's classmates ought to be applauding her courage and they ought to turn their anger against the school district demanding that the prom be held and that it be open to all students. Better yet, they ought to organize a prom themselves, with freedom, equality and acceptance as their themes.
There's a saying in the labor movement: An injury to one is an injury to all. This story is powerful evidence that the truth of that statement goes well beyond labor rights.
Those of you in Halifax are are in the middle of Queer and Rebel Days and I'd love to hear about them.
From the web site:
Queer and Rebel Days 2009 is a week of performances, discussions, food, and workshops in Halifax, NS, running from July 10 - 16, 2009. All events are free, trans and queer positive, and childcare is available upon request. Most events are based at the Roberts St. Social Centre, 5684 Roberts St., Halifax; see the Event Details page for more info.
Our goals are:
Jargon alert: There are many ways to be masculine and many ways to be feminine, but there is one culturally approved masculinity that characterizes people at the top of the gender hierarchy in the dominant culture of the United States. That masculinity is called hegemonic masculinity. I apologize in advance for the jargon, but there is no clearer way to say it.
Angie Zapata's murderer, Allen Andrade, was found guilty of all charges, and sentenced under the hate crime statute in Colorado last week. It was a sign of progress. In some places at least, violence against people because of their gender expression is considered a hate crime. We are moving toward greater acceptance of the idea that freedom of gender expression should be protected as a civil right. But we are not there yet. Indeed, while we make strides toward expanding civil rights and freedoms for all, we still have a culture deeply tinted with homophobia, heterosexism, and sexism. Witness the deaths over the past few weeks of two young boys who committed suicide after being teased and taunted at school by bullies using words like 'gay' and 'fag' and 'queer.'
On April 16 Jaheem Herrera, 11, hung himself with a belt and was found by his 10 year old sister. Just a little more than a week earlier, on April 8 Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, also 11, hung himself with an extension cord. Both boys had been the targets of severe and ongoing bullying.Click here to read the rest of this post.
Marriage is now legal, regardless of gender, in four states in the US: Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa courts ruled that their state constitutions guaranteed equal protection and access to marriage for same-sex partners, and Vermont just enacted legislation that expressly permits marriage for same-sex partners.
In California the courts had also ruled that the state constitution guaranteed access to marriage for same-sex partners and for about half a year such marriages were legally performed. Then the people voted to amend the state's constitution to expressly prohibit same-sex marriage.
Judicial and legislative processes are generally better suited for protecting minority rights than are popular votes. This isn't to say that the courts and the legislatures always get it right. First of all they are often on opposite sides of the same issue (witness the judicial processes that overturn unconstitutional legislation). Second of all, most legislatures have taken an approach quite different to Vermont's: they've used the legislative process to exclude couples from marriage where legislators in Vermont used their power to expand access to marriage.
From The California Channel: The California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Thursday, March 5, 2009, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., in three cases challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, a statewide ballot initiative that was passed by a majority of California voters in November 2008.
Proposition 8 was an amendment to the constitution of the state of California that banned recognition of same-sex marriages. This constitutional amendment revoking people's already-established rights was passed by a simple majority vote on a ballot question. This occured half a year AFTER the state had begun recognizing - and solemnizing - same-sex marriages because the Supreme Court had issued a ruling declaring that the failure to to do so was a violation of the basic civil rights of gays and lesbians as guaranteed by the state's constitution. In other words, the Supreme Court said "according to our constitution such marriages should be legal." Then the voters said "We've amended the constitution to make those marriages illegal." Now the Supreme Court is hearing a challenge to the voters' proposition.
Watch the oral arguments live at http://calchannel.com. If the server overloads then watch and listen later by archive.
And check in at Carnal Nation where Chris Hall, co-founder of Sex In The Public Square, will be live-blogging the hearing.
(Co-authored with Elizabeth Wood.)
Emily of Sexual Ambiguities has rightly called for the recognition and addressing of the real issues of transgendered people that so often get ignored or dismissed even within the broader framework of the equality movements of feminism and gay rights.
We have not blogged about any of the recent heartbreaking and horrifying stories in recent months, not because we don't think they are important - we think they are incredibly important - but because we have been at a loss for words, unable to think of anything new to say. After reading her call, we believe that we don't need to have anything new to say. It is enough to add another voice to those calling for attention to stories like these:
Angie Zapata, 18, of Greeley Colorado, was killed on July 16, 2008. She was killed because she was transgendered. The New York Times reported yesterday morning that Allen Ray Andrade, the 31-year old charged with killing her, is being charged with murder as a hate crime.
Andrade reportedly confessed to police that he bludgeoned Zapata to death the day after they had met. When they met, he said, Zapata performed a sex act on him. The next day some pictures in Zapata's apartment made him wonder about her gender. Reportedly he asked her. She answered "I'm all woman," he grabbed her crotch, found a penis there, and started beating her up with a fire extinguisher.
He told police that at one point during the assault he thought he had "killed it." Then he realized he hadn't. And then he did.
For the ultimate in Christian love and compassion we hie ourselves down to the great state of Texas. Arlington, specifically. The local megachurch, High Point Church, run by the Reverend Gary Simons. When Cecil Sinclair, a Gulf War veteran and the brother of High Point congregation member died last Monday, the church volunteered to host a memorial service, complete with refreshments for 100 people and a multimedia presentation showing the deceased's life.
Everything sounds good so far. Except for that multimedia presentation. Turns out that Cecil was a big ol' homo, and the photos the family picked for the multimedia presentation showed that. In glossy, high-def color. Or in the words of the Rev. Simons: "Some of those photos had very strong homosexual images of kissing and hugging.... My ministry associates were taken aback."
And once they saw those images, the church told the bereaved parents to go take a flying fuck at the moon. Or, to put it more diplomatically and charitably, that the family would have to have the service somewhere else.
The Rev. Simons explains his decision thus: