this is important.
i could get all sappy with going-ons about equal rights, justice, and freedom. i could quote famous human right activists. or i could just turn it over to dan savage (via the stranger) because he's so darn eloquent:
I need to ask you to do something. Not for me, but for a teenage lesbian in a small town. Constance McMillen is a senior at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi. When she asked if she could attend prom with her girlfriend, she was told no. When Constance pressed her case, the Itawamba County School Board canceled prom rather than allow Constance to attend with her girlfriend. The school board had to know what would happen next: The other students blamed Constance for getting prom canceled and "ruining senior year." Constance is now being harassed and bullied.
The school board claims it canceled prom to avoid "distractions." Now it's up to us—to decent people everywhere—to make sure that bigotry and discrimination are a much bigger distraction for the Itawamba County School District than inclusion and tolerance ever could've been.
E-mail, call, and fax Itawamba Schools superintendent Teresa McNeece (email@example.com, phone 662-862-2159 ext. 14, fax 662-862-4713) and Itawamba Agricultural principal Trae Wiygul (firstname.lastname@example.org, 662-862-3104). Then join the Facebook page "Let Constance Take Her Girlfriend to Prom." And, finally, make donations to the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition (www.mssafeschools.org), which is organizing an alternate prom that will welcome all students, and make a larger donation to the ACLU LGBT Project (www.tinyurl.com/yl9mvkb).
Call, write, fax, donate. Constance needs to know that there are people all over the world who are on her side. And, more importantly, Itawamba County Schools needs to know that we're not going to let them get away with this. Be respectful, but be relentless. Let's show these bigots what a real distraction looks like. Get 'em.
End Dan Savage. Enter me. This makes me so sad: it shouldn't be acceptable to only 'come out' as an adult. It robs our LGBT community of their youth, and taking youth away from someone is one of the most cruel acts a society can impose. If we don't teach inclusion to our children, if we don't say that rights apply to all people, not just some, we are doing ourselves a huge disservice. If we remain quiet because it isn't polite to discuss contentious things, than we are refusing to acknowledge the beauty that comes from a society where people are accepted and judged for what they contribute to the world, not who they take to the prom.
Oh, and you can watch her on The Ellen Show here.
Exiting soapbox now. Going to go make me a facebook friend with Constance.