Target: Monroe City School Board President Rodney McFarland
Goal: Allow lesbian teen to attend her prom in the attire she chooses.
A young lesbian was told that “[g]irls wear dresses and boys wear tuxes, and that’s the way it is” in response to her desire to attend her prom night in a tuxedo instead of a dress. Her principal said that her choice of attire would somehow “wreck havok” on the dance and that the faculty would refuse to help out if girls were going to be wearing tuxes.
This isn’t the first time public school faculty have tried to interfere with the completely harmless choices of students to dress and love in a way that best expresses who they are. However, it should be the last. The simple fact is that refusing to let a girl wear a tuxedo or a boy wear a dress to prom is clear discrimination. Gender norms attached to clothing are completely pointless and it’s beyond time we let them go.
Federal courts have ruled time and time again that public schools cannot forbid students from wearing gender-nonconforming clothing to dances. The Monroe City School Board president has said that he would “discuss” the issue with the school principal, but this is not nearly good enough. The clear solution is that the principal should be reprimanded at the very least and an apology should be issued to the student, Claudettia Love, with an assurance that she can attend the prom in a tuxedo without fear of reprisal. Sign the petition to demand that Claudettia be allowed to go to the prom in the attire that fits her identity.
Dear Mr. McFarland,
Recently, you said you would speak to the Carroll High School principal about the fact that he forbade a lesbian student from wearing a tuxedo to her prom, saying that “[g]irls wear dresses and boys wear tuxes, and that’s the way it is.” This is absolutely unacceptable. The principal needs more than a talking to. He should be reprimanded and told to immediately lift the ban on girls wearing tuxedos to prom. If unwilling, he needs to be dismissed and replaced by a principal who is interested in protecting students, not pointless gender norms.
LGBT students like Claudettia Love are vulnerable to harassment, abuse and violence in our society, and all of this is fueled by school policies that actively discriminate against and exclude them. If you care about your students, you’ll put a stop to any kind of rules that disallow students to express their true selves in ways that are completely harmless to others. I implore you to ensure that Claudettia Love is allowed to go to her prom in a tuxedo.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Morne via Wikimedia Commons