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Gay Teen Sent To Fake Prom

By Sierra Black |

constancex390Lesbian teen Constance McMillen won her day in court last month, but was still robbed of her chance to dance with her girlfriend at her high school prom.

The girls were misdirected by parents, other teens and school administrators to a fake prom at a local country club while her classmates partied at a secret prom organized by parents.

After a court told her high school they could not refuse to allow Constance to bring a female date to the prom, the district responded in a grounded, mature fashion by simply canceling the entire event.

They encouraged parents and community members to host a privately sponsored prom, with the idea that a private event would be allowed to discriminate against gay teens. Stay classy, Fulton Mississippi.

A judge declined to force the school to hold a prom, with the understanding that Constance and her date would be invited to whatever private event the school community put together. A problem the parents solved by arranging two events: one at the country club Constance was sent to, and another in a secret location.

Only seven students attended the “fake prom”. Two of them are students with learning disabilities. Constance, who seems to actually be a pretty classy person, said the best thing about the devious prom shenanigans was that those kids didn’t have to worry about being made fun of at their prom. “They had the time of their lives,” she told the Advocate.

I cannot imagine being one of the adults who participated in planning this prank. “I know, let’s trick the gay girls and send them to a fake prom!” What are you, 12? That’s a pathetic bullying tactic to squirm around a very clear court order against discrimination.

It’s one thing to be a kid and go along with a jerky move like that, but what about the adults who made it happen? How can you possibly graduate from high school, let alone parent a high school age kid, and not have a little more emotional maturity?

Happily, Constance seems to be taking this latest turn in her quest for a perfect prom night in stride. She’s a really impressive young woman. I’m impressed at the way she’s standing up for herself, her girlfriend and her civil rights as a lesbian. I look forward to seeing her continue to be an impressive advocate for gay rights.

Photo: The Advocate

More by Sierra Black:

Honey, Don’t Bother the Gray Lady. She’s Busy Angering Mommy Bloggers

Should You Have Kids?

Did You Really Call That Kid A D-bag?

The Baby Sleep Wars

Will Your Son Abuse His Girlfriend?

More on Babble

About Sierra Black

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Sierra Black

Sierra Black lives, writes and raises her kids in the Boston area. She loves irreverence, hates housework and wants to be a writer and mom when she grows up. Read bio and latest posts → Read Sierra's latest posts →

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50 thoughts on “Gay Teen Sent To Fake Prom

  1. PlumbLucky says:

    Have to agree – how on earth can parents show this level of (im)maturity?

  2. alison says:

    Well, they didn’t just discriminate against the lesbian teen, they also discriminated against the people with disabilities.

    They can all go to a fake college just like they sent the people they didn’t like to a fake prom. College’s can rescind admissions at their discretion (they usually do so because of poor final grades, but some have for particularly bad behavior and/or non disclosure of information which would have negatively impacted the admissions process) It isn’t to discriminate against these intolerant bigots, but to protect other people’s children. I mean, as a parent, I wouldn’t want my child exposed to these people’s “lifestyle choice” of discriminating against homosexuals and people with disabilities.

  3. Kikiriki says:

    Oh man, I totally agree with alison. If I were director of admissions at any of the schools that accepted those kids who participated in the ‘fake prom’ crap I would totally rescind the acceptance. Punish the kid and the parent. Bigots.

  4. RP says:

    I feel sick just reading this. Nice to see Mississippi making great strives to change those stereotypes.

  5. Samantha says:

    The behaviour of these parents is breath-takingly awful. Did any of the 7 students attend the “fake” prom by choice?

  6. diera says:

    I really hope they’re proud of themselves. Way to show those poor kids that just wanted to go to the prom! I can’t imagine what the parents who organized this were thinking. What if it had been their own kids who were – *gasp* – different? Are these really the values they want their kids to learn? I think of someone applying this treatment to my own children and it just makes me want to froth in rage that anyone would be this cruel.

  7. BlackOrchid says:

    Not that this isnt horrible, but doesn’t it seem from reading more about it that this was completely the parents/students doing? Not the school? It seems that the prom she went to was the actual prom; the prejudiced and in-the-know simply held their own separate party the same night and blew off the prom.

    it sucks, definitely, but without proof the school was involved in planning the alternate party, I can’t jump to blaming the school? Nor would I call this the “fake prom”? This was the real prom, it’s just that the majority of students didn’t go.

    And, probably there were many who didn’t go to either event out of sheer disgust with the whole thing. I probably would have done that, if I’d been a student there.

  8. em says:

    BlackOrchid, the article states: “They encouraged parents and community members to host a privately sponsored prom”.

    FWIW, I would have gone to the fake prom. Those are the people I’d want to associate myself with.

  9. Sarah says:

    despicable

  10. BlackOrchid says:

    Ah, sorry I missed that. The whole thing is just so hard to believe! It’s craziness.

  11. Manjari says:

    It’s hard to believe that anyone could behave that way, but that’s how bigots are. The parents and school staff make me sick.

  12. Voice of Reason says:

    Truly sickening. I’m not a vengeful person, but I must admit that Alison’s comment about colleges changing admission statuses sounded like the best kind of karmic payback for these disgusting bigots, their parents and all faculty/school board members involved.
    In the meantime, I suggest a boycott of Mississipi for any vacationers.

  13. Voice of Reason says:

    Oops! ‘Mississippi’. Apologies – we’re doing arts and crafts and the paint was in the hands of my bonkers 3 year old!

  14. Leigh says:

    What happened to the golden rule? Is it now do unto others, but only if they are just like you? Ms. McMillan is talking a good talk, but I can only begin to imagine how painful that must have been walking into the country club and finding out that she had been lied to. I’d go back to the judge, that was not in the spirit of the court order.

  15. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    Who the hell would go to Mississippi for vacation? I saw the pictures of the kids who went to this prom. Very disappointing to see kids of color, merrily reveling in the bigotry-fest. Not surprising, doesn’t every group try to close the door behind themselves once it’s been opened to them? Disgusting.

  16. TC says:

    In reading stuff like this, its hard to believe that this is the now time and generation that we live in. You read about civil liberties and things that have happened regarding racial segregation. I’m sorry that the 7 students were led astray, but happy to hear that they had a good time regardless of it’s evil intention. We definitely need to look at the generation of children we’re raising, and what values we want to place for our the future. And, cyber bullying and discrimination isn’t something I hope for the future. Shame on those who thought this was acceptable.

  17. alison says:

    Sorry for the apostrophe when all I wanted to do was make college plural. I had written something else (about a college’s admissions department) and then rephrased it and did not make the correction.

    (hangs head in shame)

  18. alison says:

    You know, the outpouring of support that Constance McMillan is getting is great, but I wish we knew more about the other 6 kids who were not invited to the private prom (especially the ones with disabilities) as they deserve some of our love too (even if that love just means us knowing their names and saying publicly that they do not deserve to be discriminated against).

  19. Elaine says:

    I’m from Mississippi and I think what these parents did is horrible. It saddens and embarrasses me. So do comments such as “I suggest a boycott of Mississipi for any vacationers” and “Who the hell would go to Mississippi for vacation?”. Condemming >2 million people because of the alledged actions of 100 people isn’t much more open minded than what some parents in Fulton are doing.

  20. Voice of Reason says:

    Elaine, I’m sorry that you took offense at my comment, but I do stand by it. In the same way that economic sanctions worked to help bring about the end of apartheid in South Africa, people need to use the power of the almighty dollar to send the message to many of your fellow Mississppians that bigotry will not be accepted. Do I believe that all Mississippians are narrow-minded haters? Absolutely not. (I do get the impression that the number is not limited to 100. I live in Canada and the state’s reputation is known to me.) In the same vein, I do not believe that all Afrikaners supported Apartheid. Economic santions worked to show the anti-Apartheid campaigners *within* South Africa that they were not alone in their cause. Economic santions (in this case in the form of a tourism boycott) against bigotry and hatred have been shown to work. For this reason, I’m a little puzzled that you would take offense, as you clearly are as disgusted by this blatent display of bullying and discrimination as I am.

  21. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    If the condemnation of your home state is so misguided, why do you express embarassment for the actions of 100 people you had nothing to do with?

  22. Voice of Reason says:

    San*c*tions! OMG!

  23. ann05 says:

    Honestly, the fact that the young woman said the fake prom was a good thing because the differently abled kids got to enjoy it without the harassment of their peers they would typically expect is what demonstrates to me the depth of her character.

  24. GtothemfckinP says:

    I agree w/ Scorp’s question…who the hell would want to go to Mississippi for vacation…but also her surprise at people of color being bigoted against gays. Blacks are some of the most homophobic folks out there, especially the churchy ones…except for all the brothas “on the DL”…anyway, I wish some cool NYC establishment would give this chick and her date a free weekend in a real city where people are open-minded and accepting…all that said, prom is a joke anyway…I never went because the school and my parents would’ve frowned on me bringing the 25 year old black man I was dating

  25. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    GP, if you interpreted “surprise” from my comments on PoC showing bigotry, your reading comprehension skills need remediation. And of course proms are a joke because you couldn’t bring a grown-ass man that was tapping your high school behind. Good to hear you got such a classy start…

  26. GtothemfckinP says:

    I meant to say I don’t agree w your surprise at PoC being homophobic…I see it all the time. When does “dating” translate to “tapping”? I guess in the call-girl world it does. Sigh.

  27. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    A 25 year old guy isn’t dating a high school girl because he wants to help her with her homework, though it may have benefited in your case. And you didn’t agree with “my surprise at PoC being homophobic” because I said no such thing. I will now take to heart the quote of the day: “Never argue with an idiot. He’ll drag you down to his level, then beat you with experience.” GP, you’re the most experienced person I’ve come across on these boards.

  28. BlackOrchid says:

    You know what would be funny? If Mistress S and GP were ACTUALLY THE SAME PERSON! It would be compelling performance art.

  29. GtothemfckinP says:

    Well, he was the man I would marry so foo on you…maybe he was dating me because I was smart and beautiful. Maybe I was 18 and it was legal. Judge much?

  30. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    @BlackOrchid: it would be compelling, but pretending you’re someone else has already been done before on these boards… by GP herself. Can’t follow an act like that.

  31. PlumbLucky says:

    Yeah, “surpising” and “disappointing” are not necessarily synonyms.

    And my own experience was that its a rare 25 year old who isn’t chasing a teenager for sex. I’m sure they exist, but without knowing either party in a given situation, I know my brain defaults to something unkind about him. The party princess from my class brought her 30 something fiance to prom. Myself, well, my boyfriend at the time was being a dillhole (funny how many stories in my teen years start with this statement) so I went with one of my best guy friends, and had a blast. I doubt Id’ have had much fun with the dillhole.

  32. JEssica says:

    Forcing people to do something against their moral beliefs is the probably a counter productive strategy for her to achieve her goal of attending prom with her girlfriend. I would like to point out I went with my girlfriends (just friends) to prom and it was no big deal. So I wonder what she did that *highlight* the fact she was going “with” a girl.

    And I would like to also point out NY as a state is a very racist area, when I lived there (2000) I actually saw neo-nazis which I have never seen before in my life and I have lived in Germany, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alaska, New Mexico, and Washington DC in addition to NY. And when I was visitng Boston I was actually kicked out of a resturant for being Mexican. So I would not call that general area open-minded at all.

  33. [...] Gay Teen Sent To Fake Prom [...]

  34. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    She “highlighted” it by asking permission of the school to wear a tuxedo, as the school had a dress code for the prom. As an aside, when I was checking out the pictures from the Bigot’s Ball, there was a girl wearing a dress that was featured on an earlier Strollerderby post about “slutty dresses,” so interesting dress code, eh?
    I could give a damn about people “forced against their moral beliefs” to treat other people as equally deserving of the rights and privileges they deserve.
    Your experiences in NY may lead you to believe it is a very racist area, but it’s fathomable to experience bigotry just about anywhere.

  35. Elaine says:

    Voice of Reason–I would be surprised if you hadn’t “heard about” Mississippi. What’s rare is when someone actually takes the time to visit there and/or get to know someone from there to make up their own mind about it rather than rehashing the typical knee jerk negative response. What made me groan about the comments about Mississippi is that I could sit here and compile a pretty exhaustive list of homosexual people who live in small towns in Mississippi, open about their lifestyle, and have no problem at all getting along with people and going about their daily lives. If you start calling for economic sanctions for every place that has the same level of intolerance for homosexuals as Mississipi you are going to seriously reduce your traveling options.
    The worst part of all this is the word from Fulton (yes, I do know people from Fulton personally) is they aren’t convinced that this girl is a lesbian to begin with, she’s always done controversial things to get attention, and this time she hit the jackpot. I only hope this situation can be resolved with as people few getting hurt as possible, whatever the truth happens to be (which is pretty cloudy at this point).

  36. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    Wow, this girl certainly hit the jackpot, you say! If they doubted she was a lesbian, and she was just trying to get attention, then they could have said “yeah, wear your tux,” and no one would have heard of her. The attention was drawn by the bigoted reaction, not by her so-called attention seeking ways. And the reaction of the students and their parents throwing a secret prom continues to keep this story in the news. But yeah, she’s a total attention whore. Nice attitude.

  37. JEssica says:

    MS, what her goal is and her way to achieve her goal is what I was talking about. If her goal was to go to the prom with her gf all she had to do was wear a dress. But that is not the road she took. When you make choices in life sometimes they have consquences that may not have the intended affect. Her gf didn’t even go to the prom fake or not. Sometimes it is easier to kill a fly with a fly swatter than a hammer. She took the hammer approach and in the end did not kill the fly.

    “Your experiences in NY may lead you to believe it is a very racist area, but it’s fathomable to experience bigotry just about anywhere.” Someone suggested there should be sanctions against Mississippi for the actions of one town. I was pointing out places that are portrayed as “open-minded” are just as racist, homophobic or “close-minded” as any other city. And yes, in my book seeing Nazis out in the open rates NY as number 1 most racist state in the old US of A.

  38. JEssica says:

    I might also add Boston isn’t in NY, just that area of the country and it would be right behind NY in my opinion.

  39. GtothemfckinP says:

    So what if she wanted to go with a boy and they both wear tuxes? Or he wear a kilt and she wear a tux? All these stupid pointless rules are why kids hate highschool.

  40. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    @JEssica: “If her goal was to go to the prom with her gf all she had to do was wear a dress.” But she didn’t *want* to wear a dress. And do you think that had she shown up at the prom and slow-danced with her gf or expressed affection with her gf, those actions would have gone unnoticed and unaddressed? Perhaps some think “well, then she shouldn’t do anything that would make it obvious to anyone around her that she was anything but straight.” So that’s the answer? She shouldn’t be allowed to act like any other teen, because she might make someone uncomfortable? That is utterly dehumanizing. Even as a minority in this country, even in the face of the direct, indirect, deliberate and unintentional ways in which I am reminded on a daily basis that “YOU ARE NOT ONE OF US” I try to recognize my own privilege.
    Regarding NY as a racist state… that’s your opinion from your experiences. With all of the racism I’ve experienced directly, indirectly, purposefully or out of ignorance, I still call NY home. I’m not going to escape it by acting a certain way, I’m going to be black till the day I die. But you won’t catch me in the South, and that’s my own bigoted view I need to get over.

  41. Kikiriki says:

    Suppose I’m uncomfortable around Jewish people, so I don’t want anyone who’s public about their Jewishness going to the prom? Can I make a rule that nobody is allowed to wear a yarmulke to the prom? Can I say “yeah, you can go to the prom but you’re not allowed to wear anything that shows me you’re Jewish.” Or, what if I have a problem with Christians? Can I say they’re allowed to go to the prom but they’re not allowed to wear any jewelry with a cross on it? See, Jessica, this is, I think, a much better analogy to what you’re saying. Because if the above scenario isn’t okay with you, then the homophobia shouldn’t be okay with you either.

  42. Sharon says:

    JEssica-I live just around the corner from Fulton. I have not heard the rumors you have heard about not believing she is a lesbian. The school also told her that if she showed up with the gf that they would be in trouble. They didn’t mention no displays of affection-they said that they couldn’t even be seen together. On the other side, there have been many displays of support for Constance around here, including several pro Constance letters to editor in the largest paper around here. But, to be honest, there is also a lot of people who have been closed minded about the whole situation. I for one think that they should have let her attend with the girlfriend. Most of the kids really could have cared less-it was more or less the parents and school system that were so freaked out.

  43. Voice of Reason says:

    Exactly, Kikiriki. And *then* say it actually had to go so far as to go to court and *then* a group of parents and education professionals organised a ‘alternative’ (read: real) prom that excluded Jews, Christians, people with brown eyes, whatever… that’s somewhere I wouldn’t want to go on vacation.

  44. Voice of Reason says:

    Arghhh! ‘An’ alternative – am I the only one struggling with editing my post with this new ‘tiny two lines’ system?

  45. Lillian says:

    Everyone is getting off topic. If the school system told me I couldn’t take my gf to the prom, I would take one anyway because they told me I couldn’t do it. Its what teenagers do. They shouldn’t have sent them to a fake party. That was totally wrong and out of line. That in and of itself is discrimination against her and the other kids they sent there. I suppose to these people, lesbian and handicapped fall in the same category. If I were her, I would sue the parents that did this. This behavior is unacceptable in all ways and it makes me sick. We don’t let them discriminate on race, color or creed, why should we let them discriminate against us for who we love/date? As far as the morals go, this is a public school. They do what the government tells them to do; which, in this case, was to allow the girls to go to the prom. They didn’t listen. If I were their boss, I would pull the funding to that school and tell them to get the parents they would rather listen to pay for it! If they cant do as we say, why should we fund them? Why fund this bigotry?

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