Was prom a tragic mess for you? Mine was fun, the dinner before was great, the limo ride was a highlight, and the company consisted of great friends. I wasn't out, something that wouldn't happen for about a decade, so I went with my girlfriend. Well, she called me her boyfriend, but I was never really comfortable with the relationship since I was one of those gays.
Kids these days are so much more out in the open than most of us ever dreamed of back in the early '90s. Even with Fricke v Lynch from 1980 (will be mentioned in a second) I don't think most of us LGBTers from the last two decades of the 1900s thought about bringing a same-sex date to the prom.
From Mashable.com's Prom's Big Queer Takeover, we learn more about the history of same-sex dates at proms.
In 1980, Fricke v. Lynch prohibited public high schools from discriminating against students who want to bring other students of the same sex to prom. Other cases have since ruled that schools cannot mandate restrictive sex-specific dress codes, like tuxedos for boys and dresses for girls.
Of course, the law can only go so far, especially when your attorney general is Jeff Sessions. Transgender students might be able to attend the prom wearing the outfit of their choice, but that doesn't mean they can use the bathroom of their choice while at the prom.
And the law has limited reach. Fricke v. Lynch currently only applies to public schools. Private, religious schools don't have to follow all the same guidelines that public schools do, including sex-based Title IX requirements. At St. Petersburg Catholic High School in April, 17-year-old Paula Goodgame was told she couldn't bring her girlfriend to prom. After reaching out to her guidance counselor, she received this answer in response:
I for one did not know about Fricke v Lynch until I read the Mashable piece, and apparently the peeps in Buffalo, NY do not know about it either.
A week before prom, a Buffalo high schooler is suing his principal for allegedly policing same-sex couples at school dances.
Byshop Elliott says McKinley High School has a history of policies that exclude LGBTQ students—including the principal’s alleged denial of his and fellow students’ request for a gay-straight alliance.
In a federal lawsuit, the 18-year-old junior says students buying “couples” tickets for dances are asked for the names of their dates. Those naming same-sex partners aren’t permitted to purchase the “couples” passes, he claims.
While Elliott won’t attend prom this year—it’s only for seniors—he wants to stand up for LGBTQ classmates who may be denied a chance to dance with their dates.
Most of all, he says, he wants Boling-Barton to approve his request for a gay-straight alliance (GSA).
“We are such a diverse school. We have 1,000 students from all over Buffalo. [But] not everyone feels comfortable,” Elliott told The Daily Beast.
“The GSA is not just for LGBTQ allies and people who identify,” he added. “It’s a safe space, just to have somewhere to go.” – dailybeast.com
So it seems there are more problems in Buffalo than policing the prom for two dresses showing up together or two tuxedos at the same time.
We will have to keep an eye on this development.
Bravo Byshop Elliott for looking out for you and others.