Saturday, April 10, 2010

Gay Prom Story With Happy Ending

With all the coverage of homophobia in the South and efforts to either bar gays from bringing same sex dates to proms or students being thrown out of their homes by their parents for wanting to take a same sex date to the prom, it is wonderful to finally hear a story from North Carolina about a supportive parent and a receptive high school (or at least receptive after the student's mom went on the warpath). Once again, in a nation that purports to guarantee freedom of religion to all - but clearly does not - it is a shame that religious based discrimination continues to trump the civil rights of LGBT Americans in so many areas of the country. Locally, I am not sure what the policies are of the various school divisions. I do know that some high schools have gay-straight alliances and that there has been at least one collective dance that alliance members from all participating schools were able to attend. Here are highlights on the happy ending for Chase Nixon and his date (pictured above) and Chase's courageous mother:
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This is a testament to Jordan’s ├╝ber cool parents, to Chase and Jordan for being so open and honest and to Starmount High School and Principal Parker for doing the right thing. I want to preface the following by stating that I mean no disrespect to the school or it’s administrators. I know that unfortunately this is still an issue and Chase, Jordan, Leesa and all others involved are doing their part to change it.
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I have come to know Leesa Nixon, Jordan’s Mom, as the very supportive ‘FagHagMom’ on Twitter. We have never met but our virtual friendship over the past month has been endearing. She is clearly a role model for any parent of an LGBT child. She is unconditionally supportive.
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So when her son’s boyfriend, Chase wanted to bring her son, Jordan to his senior prom and he was met with opposition from high school administrators, Leesa came to his defense. Bravo!!. We’ve heard this story several times this prom season with mixed outcomes. It’s a shame that these scenarios still have to involve attorneys, the HRC and the ACLU. We all recall the ongoing drama with Constance Mcmillen, the HRC and the fake prom? Gross.
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Here is Leesa Nixon's account of the matter and her strong action in setting things right:
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Senior Prom that much-anticipated rite of passage for American youth. The moment they wait for all school year, it is the signal that they have finally made it through 4 years of high school hell and in a very short time they will be adults, living on their own, conquering the world.

The dreaded question, “will you go to prom with me?” has been asked and answered, “Yes”. What to wear has been argued about, discussed and finally agreed upon. Transportation, check! All the hard stuff has been addressed and they are all ready to go, right?

Wrong! For Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transsexual teens, finding a date and something to wear to the prom is the easy part. The hard part comes when school officials tell them that they cannot bring their same-sex date, or dress in a manner the school officials feel is inappropriate, “like wearing a tux if you’re a girl or a dress if you’re a boy.” Take for example, the case of 17-year-old Chase, a student at Starmount High School in Booneville, North Carolina, who was called into the principal’s office April 6th.
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The discrimination that Chase was confronted with has been resolved. I called and spoke with his principal and informed her that not allowing Chase to bring his boyfriend to the prom was discrimination and a violation of his constitutionally protected rights. I threatened to call the ACLU, (which I did) and go to the media.After our first conversation, I was contacted by Mrs. Parker, who informed me that she was waiting on the school attorney to call.
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April 7th, Mrs. Parker left a message on my phone stating that she had spoken with the school attorney and that the school was going to allow Chase to bring my son Jordan to his Senior Prom “as his outside date” and that what they were going to have to do, was change the rule to allow students to bring a guest and not necessarily a “date”.
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Thankfully Starmount High School did solve the problem very quickly, and decided to put a stop to this unfair treatment. Unfortunately, other schools are not willing to resolve these issues and discrimination without being told do so by the courts.
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The educators in these cases are teaching hate and intolerance to our nations children, the example they are setting with their treatment of these gay, lesbian, bi and transsexual children only enforces the view that these teens and all homosexual’s should be ostracized and denied the same fundamental rights as straight people.
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How is America the land of the free, where all men are purportedly created equal supposed to achieve a society of fairness, equality and justice, when the very people charged with educating our children are behaving in such a discriminating manner?
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There is currently a bill before Congress that would protect Gay, Lesbian, Bi, and Transsexual students from this very type of discrimination. If you would like to take a stand against this discrimination, contact your Congressman/Woman and ask them to support and pass the Student Non-Discrimination Act http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.4530:
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Kudos to Leesa. However, it is unfortunate that in the 21st century, we still have 18th century bigotry and religious prejudice depriving citizens of equality under the law.

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