A MinD in MoTown


I call bullshit.

To say I read a lot of news is likely an understatement. I swim in it every day, perusing each article with gasps and awes at moments. And occasionally, pure outrage results and then I wander over to my dear blog to spill my guts.

Today’s topic of choice? The cancellation of a Mississippi high school prom simply because one girl chose another girl as her date – oh, and because the student wanted to wear a tuxedo to the dance*.

YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME, RIGHT!?

It’s 2010. Progressive states, such as Iowa and most recently Washington, D.C.**, are providing same-sex couples with the marriage rights they so fervently fight for each day. People of the same gender aren’t completely ostracized – though I’m sadly sure they are at times – as they once were. We’ve moved leaps and bounds forward, and although there still remains so much more ground to cover and achieve, being a member of the LGBT*** community carries far little stigma than a decade or two ago.

Yet one female teenager decides to bring her girlfriend to the prom, and the result becomes a canceled event for the entire school. I’m far from surprised that this quickly became a hot news item, especially as the ACLU fights back with a lawsuit spearheaded by the shunned teen (as I write, this is the newest development).

Officials with the Itawamba (Mississippi) School District’s board of education are claiming that the media coverage of the situation has caused “distractions to the educational process,” forcing them into the prom’s cancellation. However, I see these comments as little more than fabrications meant to conceal their true opinions – likely those stemming from conservative, religious values that don’t allow them to see how unfair, unjust and unequal their treatment of this student is. And what nearly proves this fact is the timeline of events, because it seems to me that the school district called off the event prior to the real mediastorm eruption.

Sure, a few articles were probably printed as the ACLU stepped in to tell the district that they couldn’t justly forbid this 18-year-old from bringing another girl to the prom, which they not only stated specifically to the student at the center of this situation, but they did on a large scale by distributing a notice to all students that said prom dates must be of the opposite sex.

No, the real coverage of this controversy began only after the entire prom was scrapped to prevent one individual from attending – a girl who was flatly told by her school administrators that she and her date would be ejected from the prom if they arrived and any student expressed even the slightest issue with their same-sex coupledom. Maybe it’s time district officials and the board of education explained their true beliefs about equality regarding sexual orientation rather than hiding behind fallacies of their own creation, futilely blaming the media for a lack of prom festivities.

I’m not a moron and I completely realize that there are still people in this country who cannot see the need for equality across the board, including when it comes to one’s personal preference in a mate. However, it’s one thing to hold those beliefs and another to force them upon someone who clearly doesn’t hold the same opinion. To penalize this girl, and eventually the entire school, because of the “distraction” the two girls attending prom could be is utterly ridiculous for 2010 and I fully stand behind the ACLU as they attempt to rectify the situation, even if that’s via a lawsuit.

It amazes me that we can come so far when it comes to LGBT rights, and maybe even become complacent in our efforts toward the fight for that equality as we see progress occur. And then one seemingly small decision in a mediocre Mississippi town can ignite the fire under our asses. This school district decision has truly done that for me, and unfortunately it only proves how much change is still absolutely needed in this society.

* A smaller detail – that I won’t actually discuss – but she was forbidden to wear a tux because the district superintedent claimed only males could wear them.
** Yes, I know D.C. isn’t a state… Need we pick on the details? Sheesh!
*** Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, in case you didn’t know, though I hope you already did.

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14 Comments so far
Leave a comment

But I cant say this whole thing surprises me being that it is Mississippi. Not trying to be mean or harsh, Im just saying as far as being progressive, that state is not.

Comment by Matt

You know what’s really sad? I grew up in backassward eastern NC and yet two girls showing up to our prom was pretty much no big deal outside of some catcalls during a kiss.

Then again Mississippi is the state where certain districts only recently let black and white students attend the same prom so I can’t say I’m surprised.

Comment by Kendall

Unfortunately, when I first heard that this story was coming from Mississippi, I was not surprised. These rural towns tend to have a “backwoods” type of attitude and no sense of progression. It’s sad but is still and always will be a reality.

Comment by thatShortChick

Echoing all the other comments here. But still, it’s awful.

Comment by Jamie

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can u email me ur address? its
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Comment by novelista barista

Ahhhh, you’re the one who left that other comment! I was so confused. Emailing you now.

Comment by amindinmotown

Oh Mindy, you must consider this is a state that took until 1996 to abolish slavery. Yes, 1996. If there ever was a state that needs a makeover, it’s Mississippi. It will probably be 2060 before Mississippi recognizes LGBT rights.

Comment by Justin (Oats)

I know everyone’s right, and I’m very aware of how completely behind-the-times Mississippi is. However, it’s still frustrating to see these sorts of things in the news. It’s also aggravating to know that school officials are blatantly lying about their reasonings for canceling prom. If you’re going to be a bigot, might as well be upfront about it rather than hiding behind excuses.

Comment by amindinmotown

Don’t even get me started on this. When I read about this story, I was sooo mad. Ugh. People.

Comment by Akirah

Anger doesn’t begin to describe how I felt. I get you totally.

Comment by amindinmotown

This whole thing pisses me off to no end. It’s so homophobic, but it’s also sexist and genderist.

SHAME ON YOU, MISSISSIPPI (yes, I’m blaming the whole state).

Comment by Kim

I think we’re all blaming the whole state. Sexist, genderist, homophobic and just downright horrible… And sad… Ugh.

Comment by amindinmotown

As someone who lived in the state of MS (as a member of the media, no less), I’m ashamed and angered that things like this happen there.

And what you said about sexist, genderist and homophobic? While my town there didn’t have the same issue (of the HS stuff, at least), I definitely felt the sexism while working there.

Sigh.

Comment by E.P.

As much as I already believed that it wasn’t some inaccurate portrayal by the media, it’s definitely distressing knowing that you saw the same kind of bigotry there, too. Very disheartening, to say the least.

Comment by amindinmotown




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