Fake Prom (or, We Should Never Pass This Way Again)

April 6th, 2010

As reported in Did a Mississippi School Stage a Fake Prom for a Lesbian and Her Date? (Gawker 4/05/10), a school board in Mississippi cancelled the high school prom rather than allow Constance McMillen and her girlfriend attend it as a couple. When sued to reinstate the prom and let the couple attend, the school board promised that Constance and her girlfriend would be invited to a substitute private prom being organized by parents. Instead, Constance, her girlfriend, and five other “loser” students (including two with learning disabilities) were sent to a fake prom, while the “real” private prom was held at a secret location.

Does this bother you as much as it does me? If so, SIGN THE HRC PETITION to protest the school board’s and parents’ actions. Read these articles, this CBS report, and this ACLU report for more dirty details about what happened.

Itawamba County, Mississippi, you take the cake.

For outright bigotry, this must all recent records break.

No, not just bigoted, but downright cruel

(Though for many in the “Real America,” that seems to be the rule).

Senior prom is an important life event,

One of several that right of passage represent.

Prom, the first job, and the first car in which every teen exults:

That’s how kids grow up to become adults.

The school board and parents taught these kids an important life lesson:

Don’t let people you don’t like your own enjoyment lessen.

Those parents have worked hard to pass on their own homophobic hate

And to teach their kids to exclude and discriminate.

They’ve taught their kids to use dirty tricks and lies,

To discriminate against people they despise.

They’ve taught them that it’s OK to demean and hurt,

Especially if you thereby your own superiority assert.

The parents too learned lessons from the past–

They fought this attempt at de-segregation by trickery, in contrast.

Violence to preserve racial segregation was ultimately ineffective,

So this time they used lies and deceit to meet their objective.

Welcome to the “Real America,” class of 2010.

And remember, you should never pass this way again.

Your parents may be too old to change their view,

But there’s still hope for some of you.

So please, Indians, be rebels with a cause,

On behalf of (not against) fairness, civility, and laws.

It’s not about “the gays,” you see:

It’s about the kind of person you’re going to be.

You don’t have to become a Democrat (though that would be good)–

Just become the kind of person that you should.

Rebel against your parents’ bigotry,

And make a new future for Mississippi.

PS to Constance:

For you, your friend, and the other five:

It’s awful what those idiots did, you of your prom to deprive.

But one thing of which I’m sure

Is that though the “real” prom may have its allure,

You seven were better company than those fools

And their parents’ discriminatory rules.

I’d rather go to your “fake” prom any day

Than hang around with those jerks anyway.

I was an outsider as a teen too

(And I’m sure much more awkward than you).

Just remember, there are a lot of great things ahead,

While for many of those “cool” kids, it’s downhill instead.

PS to Sarah Palin:

I know you don’t particularly like “the gays”

(That’s something that to your base poorly plays).

But I’m surprised you’re silent when someone demeans

Those developmentally disabled teens.

Where’s the usual rage

On your Facebook page?

You’re OK with criticizing Family Guy.

Doesn’t the same to your “Real America” apply?


Here’s Constance on Ellen talking about her experience. Ellen really hits the nail right on the head here.

Here’s Constance’s message for all those who supported her in her fight for equality. Constance, here’s my message to you: You are an impressive young lady and a good person. Keep it up.

Here’s your theme music for today, that old prom favorite We May Never Pass This Way Again by Seals and Croft. (Sorry, I couldn’t find a music video of the original Seals and Croft version, but this is a pretty good cover.)

Here’s another appropriate song, Mississippi Goddamn by the incomparable Nina Simone (kudos to Katastic on Gawker for this suggestion).

And for those of you (especially in Mississippi and other parts of the “Real America”) that still aren’t convinced that what the school board and parents was wrong, here’s what can happen when you demean people who are different at the senior prom. (Constance: I’m not suggesting that you’d do anything like what Carrie does, just that discrimination and exclusion can create a really bad scene.) 

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