As I’m sure you all know, (and as I alluded to in my April Fools post) Mississippi High School educators have a hardon for teenager lesbians in tuxedos.
No, wait, don’t read it like that! I mean, they have an embarrassing problem about it. No, goddamnit, this is difficult.
They don’t like it. That’s what I meant to say.
You perhaps remember the story of Ceara Sturgis (or not, god knows what kind of attention span you have after reading these scatterbrained blog entries) – the ballsy, outspoken young woman who wanted to wear a tuxedo in her Wesson Attendance Center yearbook photo
School officials, not realizing that it was the year 2009, nor that there was no rule against what they called “cross-dressing,” denied the photo. A lawsuit was born, and Ceara received a bit of praise locallyand there on the intertubes and in print about the kerfluffle.
So fast-forward a few months and welcome to 2010. We can finally stop saying “two-thousand and,” people have gone and invented a practical, helicopter-based “jetpack,” which doesn’t involve any pesky pants-inflamming jets.
Mississippi educators, however – still can’t handle women who love women. Especially if they’re in a tuxedo. I wonder if this standoff would continue if someone, for example, checked their browsing history.
Que Constance McMillen and her detractors at the Itawamba Agricultural High School, who have earned themselves a bitter Pharyngula thread. You see, it’s a bit of a nasty little story, and when the not-so-subtle folks over there get Pharyngulating, it’s hard to stop.
You should check out the comments. A couple of locals appeared and defended the decision – quite poorly, I might add. Many more, of course, supported McMillen. My favorite gem, from the wretched Facebook page “Constance Quit Yer Cryin” which is about as intellectual as they got: “Traci Taylor: Carnathan who wants to c 2 girls makn out…especially one of them thats parents are totally against it.”
Oh man, I could tell her some stories about people who want to see that, parental approval be damned! But there is much to become inflamed about! The school denied McMillen the chance to go to the prom with her date – bad enough. Then a lawsuit! A lawsuit is one of those things that no one wants, but everyone gets, kind of like a social version of e. coli. It was, predictably enough, filed by the ACLU of Mississippi. The court ruled that McMillen’s first amendment rights had been violated, but that it could not force anyone to hold a prom.
Private donations, in order to run a private prom, were pouring in – particularly twenty grand from the American Humanist Association, from big-time funder Todd Stiefel.
Then, in a move that felt not quite unlike a swift toe-jab to the testicles, The ACLU rejected the gift on the flimsiest of pretenses: Fear of atheists.
“Although we support and understand organizations like yours, the majority of Mississippians tremble in terror at the word ‘atheist,’” Jennifer Carr, the fund-raiser for the A.C.L.U of Mississippi
Me: Tremble in fear, puny humans! Or I’ll say it! Don’t make me say “atheist!”
Majority of Mississippians: “Ahhh! Stop! He said it! Ahhh!”
Minority of Mississippians: “What’d he say? Atheist?”
Majority of Mississippians: “Ahhhh! He said it again!”
If only this were true! I’d have no troubles at all!
And no, the AHA had no conditions put on the money – it was not as though the inclusive prom would have a banner from Kurt Vonnegut. Though, if they had, I would have suggested “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is,” because that’s the best mid-makeout move ever.
Eventually, of course, the ACLU apologized and kept the money, putting into the coffers for the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition, which holds an annual gay-friendly prom.
So with lawsuit on the horizon, a judge in McMillen’s corner, the school says they’ll host an all-inclusive prom on Friday, April second. And when the shit hits the fans…
They held a prom. Or two. Yes, the old switcheroo! School officials held a prom, which eight students attended, but local parents and students headed off to a private prom, bringing back remembrances of once-upon-a-time Mississippi (two years ago) when segregated proms were held, separate for the lily-white all-American youth.
I don’t know if she’ll be attending the gay-friendly prom, which must be rocking if you get twenty grand plus to throw it. I don’t recommend going, but only because Lance Bass is gonna be there. Other than that, Tupelo will be a big town for a night, eh?