Sorry Miss. parents, prom isn’t as wholesome as you think

It’s hard to believe that high school parents would go to the trouble of creating a decoy prom so that a lesbian couple wouldn’t attend, but that’s exactly what happened in the Itawamba County School District in Mississippi. If you haven’t heard of the student — Constance McMillan — whose school first refused to let her bring a female date and then canceled prom entirely when the ACLU got involved, then you’re probably still a bit more idealistic than anyone who has heard the story.

What is hard to grasp is what exactly is so bad about Constance bringing her date — is it because they might dance together? Because lots of girls dance together in groups — even grind on each other — and not everyone who goes to prom (even if they are heterosexual) wants to go with or is able to get a date for the dance. Is it because they might kiss?

Because I’m sure she would have brought her date, started grinding on her ferociously, and then topped it all off by making out with her on the dance floor all night long — because it sounds like Constance really wanted to go to prom to make everyone uncomfortable and pissed off, and not because she wanted to be like everyone else and go to prom with someone she cared about. End sarcasm. She goes to a school in the deep south — it’s likely more about not hiding who she is than trying to attract the abuse that comes with being openly gay in a conservative area.

Of course it’s the family values’ focused parents (along with their kids who probably haven’t been taught tolerance) who are likely worried that the girls are going to be kissing on the dance floor, grinding on each other and stomping on the wholesome prom that they want their kids to have.

The idea of a wholesome prom is almost an oxymoron, at least if you attend public school — prom night is stereotyped as the night when teens lose their virginity, not as the night when they slow dance a good distance apart from each other. Although by this age, many teenagers have already lost their virginity, so then it’s a night to not only have (non-marital!) sex, but to get drunk afterward and then have sex. My prom date joked to me, “You know, you’re supposed to get some on prom night.” I responded with a disgruntled look and let him know he wouldn’t be.

Other wholesome things found at my prom? Lots of people were intoxicated (alcohol and/or drugs) before they stepped into the doorway, and I’m sure some smuggled alcohol and/or drugs into the event itself. Lots of the girls there wore ridiculously revealing clothing, to the point where I was surprised a few nip slips didn’t take place on the dance floor.

And, of course, a gathering of teenagers and hormones always leads to grinding on the dance floor, no matter how much the chaperones try to stop it. And my high school was in a typical white suburb in the Midwest, so it doesn’t get more “average” than that.

Perhaps the problem is that these parents don’t seem to realize that their own kids most likely drink, have sex (or do other sexual acts short of intercourse) and do it all right under their noses. They are too busy being “holier than thou” about their heterosexuality that they fail to realize that those wholesome kids of theirs are probably out breaking curfew, morals, laws, or commandments.

And for the parents to go to the trouble of creating a private prom, purposefully trying to leave out Constance? What a way to teach your kids about tolerance. The students are just as guilty though, as keeping their lips sealed means they are just as intolerant, plus I’m sure the added peer pressure didn’t help.

This segregation is ridiculous — would this town have had the audacity to hold a secret prom if there was one black student who wanted to attend and they wanted it to be a white-only affair? Probably not (although this is Mississippi …), but that’s because homosexuality isn’t the same as skin color.

Skin color is a physical characteristic, and sexuality is not — it’s not they don’t like Constance, they just don’t like her sexuality — they wanted her to hide it and then they’d let her go to prom. For some reason, to these people, that probably didn’t sound as ridiculous as it would sound to ask a person of color to paint their skin to put the parents’ nervousness at ease.

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