Sunday, August 19, 2012

Out Spotlight

Today's Out Spotlight could be called an accidental activist, but she is also the part of the future of the LGBT community. Today's Out Spotlight is Constance McMillen.


Constance McMillen became a poster child for LGBT rights after asking permission to bring her girlfriend to her high school prom. When her school responded by cancelling the prom, she took legal action.

As a senior at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi,  she challenged the prom rules forbidding same-sex couples from attending and girls from wearing tuxedos. When the school cancelled the prom, students responded by harassing McMillen.

 She just wanted to go to the prom, like any other high school senior. Only difference: Her date was a girl, and Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi, objected. The girls were told they couldn’t come as a couple, couldn’t walk in holding hands and certainly couldn’t show up in the tuxedos they’d planned to wear.

“I was raised to always be proud of who you are,” McMillen had said then  age 18.  She called the American Civil Liberties Union to report on what had happened to her. The result was not what she’d expected: Faced with a lawsuit, the school canceled the dance, angering many of her classmates. (One girl’s T-shirt: “Thanks, Constance, for ruining prom.”)
 
“I didn’t want everyone to hate me,” said McMillen, who was raised mostly by her dad and learned at age 10 that her mother, Denise, was a lesbian. “But sometimes you got to do what you got to do. The easiest way is not always the best way.”

Encouraged by her mom, she  confronted the injustice, and by doing so set an example for the world.

While some in her hometown were upset with her,  she found widespread support nationally—and even internationally. Thousands of grateful teens sent her messages on Facebook, and Ellen DeGeneres gushed on her show, “I just think you’re so brave and amazing.”

The ACLU filed a lawsuit requesting that the court order the school to hold an inclusive prom. The case was settled when a U.S. District Court ruled that McMillen’s First Amendment rights had been violated. The Itawamba County School District consented to a judgment in which it paid McMillen $35,000 and $81,000 in attorneys’ fees.

 After the settlement, the school held a prom. Only McMillen and seven learning disabled students attended. Parents organized a separate prom that all other students attended, but to which McMillen was not invited.

The school district agreed to implement policies that would prevent future discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity for extracurricular and educational activities. This was groundbreaking for a Mississippi school district.

“Constance stood up to foolishness and inequity and irrational unfairness, sending a signal that this battle should be fought at every level,” says former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson.

McMillen’s story received national attention. Glamour magazine named her Woman of the Year Award in 2010, and she appeared on national television shows including “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” where she received a $30,000 scholarship.

She was invited to the White House and served as Grand Marshal of the New York Gay Pride Parade.

McMillen transferred to another high school school in Jackson, Mississippi, and graduated in 2011. She enrolled at Northeast Mississippi Community College to study psychology.

She  plans to keep speaking out, hoping to spread tolerance—and maybe even save lives. “I heard, growing up, that gay people can’t go to heaven,” she recalls. “Even my grandma didn’t agree with [my lesbianism]. But she said, ‘If that’s who you are, I’ll be here. I’ll love you regardless.’”

 “Stand up like I did. It was hard but it was worth it.”

21 comments:

prairiegirl said...

Wow what a story. Incredible young girl. That is fantastic that she got a scholarship and was a grand Marshall.

What a vindictive little town.

the real m said...

Amazing that someone so young displayed so much fortitude. I'm glad to see the new generation able to be comfortable with who they are. Jake are you paying attention?

What a coincidence. Goose following Jake. I'd say there is some Karma at work there.

Yes, I know what time it is. Busy day today and for some reason I am wide awake at the moment and surfing on my iPad.

prairiegirl said...

Hi m!
Yes, I did a double-take for a moment, lol. Great to be excited about the upcoming day.

Hey, I didn't know that Diana Nyad was swimming again from Cuba to Florida. Best of luck to her. I hope she makes her goal. I cannot imagine being out in the middle of the ocean like that, not being able to touch and knowing that there are just miles and miles below your feet. I'm scaring myself. Scaring myself!!!! Need a pool. Need to touch.

Good to see Jake at the screening last night, kind of cracking a smile. Need a little more rain to soften that parched dirt, though. Grit the teeth and just.....ear to ear!!! Go for it, Jake! I know it's scary but smiling has its rewards. lol

Gotta go, gotta go

Jersey Tom said...

Very wonderful Spotlight. You only have to look at this girl to see she is special. No doubt God loves her. It is great to see her standing up to hate and prejudice. Your right m. Wonder how things like this make Jake feel. No excuses.

Special K said...

EoW Hamptons screening last night

Just Jared

Daily Mail

the real m said...

Terrible news about Tony Scott. How does that happen. Wife, two children, successful career both with movies and TV. More films to direct planned for the future and he commits suicide? I just don't understand. I feel terrible for his family. And some news reports say he dove landing right near a tour boat full of people so the witnesses are distraught as well.

I guess Jake has given up on smiling at events anymore. If he is no longer happy in the public eye, he needs to get out of it. But not of course before we see him live on stage. I did not check all those sites but could not help notice that he is barely mentioned in comments on Jared. They are all about Paltrow.

prairiegirl said...

m, I don't know if it's true or not but I saw a comment somewhere that he may have been ill. Guess that will be revealed if true. How horrible for the witnesses. Those who commit suicide never seem to think of repercussions to those who are left behind or those who find their body.

Traumatic.

prairiegirl said...

This is terribly sad news!!

Leslie Nielsen has passed away at the age of 84. Frank Drebin!!!!

Oh my gosh I loved that man. He was on Murder She Wrote, Naked Gun, Airplane!, and he was even in a Tammy movie with Debbie Reynods.

Absolutely the most distinguished, handsome man to ever have a whole head of silver hair. Loved his voice. His comedic delivery.

He was just one of my absolute favorites. He had one of THE funniest deadpan deliveries ever.

Rest in Peace, Leslie Nielsen. Oh how I loved you.

prairiegirl said...

Well, J Peterman also looks awesome with a full head of silver hair. But Leslie Nielsen was oh so debonair.


I guess Jake has given up on smiling at events anymore. If he is no longer happy in the public eye, he needs to get out of it.


You know what, m? At this point, it undoubtedly is being done on purpose.

No one goes through life constantly frowning and looking dead serious for all of their pictures, especially those taken with friends, peers, fans, charity administrators and other professionals. Now in these EOW screening pics, he is kind of upturning the mouth a bit. Maybe the mustache is kind of hiding it.

But I think this is being done on purpose. Why, who knows. I'm not speculating 'why' on here other than it's probably some form of purposeful withholding. Jake has gone way too many years of smiling ear to ear with joy in his eyes in publicity pictures for this dour Eeyore face to be without some kind of reason.

Not sure who's supposed to be the "beneficiary" of the Eeyore face but you know what? You only hurt yourself.

Aw, I'm so sad about Leslie Nielsen. :*(

prairiegirl said...

I think Jake needs to be given props though. He attended for one thing.

And there was no floated stories.

He's minding his own business and I'm sure he's working very hard on preparing for his play, his first one here in the States, right? I think it is. He didn't wear tan or army green pants or grey T shirt. No rolled up pant leg.

So I am happy about those things. Those are some good things that outweigh the disappointing.

:)

destiny said...

Terrible news about Tony Scott, he made some very entertaining films. I particularly love The Hunger, and I thought Unstoppable, one of his last films, was very good and deserved to do better than it did at the box office.

There are rumors that he had inoperable brain cancer.

Also sad about Scott Mackenzie, his song San Francisco is one of my all-time favorite flower power songs, it's always on heavy rotation on my Ipod.

destiny said...

I guess you missed the new about Leslie Nielsen PG, he's actually been gone for a couple of years now. Really liked him too.

prairiegirl said...

guess you missed the new about Leslie Nielsen PG, he's actually been gone for a couple of years now.

Oh crud, you're kidding! My supervisor told me this morning that she heard something about it and I Googled it but inattentive, unobservant me didn't realize the date was past! Oh good grief. How did I miss that one?

Wow, hope I didn't make anyone else pass along old news. LOL.

lol. That's pretty bad to laugh about but it is kind of funny, you have to admit.

**turns beet red**.

Boy, that's two huge gaffes two days in a row. What will be the encore, I wonder. Geez.

WHIFF!!!!!

Airball!!!

Strike three!!!

Fumble!!!

Jersey Tom said...

No worry PG. I didnt know Leslie had passed either.

I was just reading on AOL that Tony Scott did have a terminal illness. Weird way of going out though.

I have given up on trying to figure Jake out. Hopefully he has a good therapist so he doesnt forget who the hell he is. So many different faces.

Special K said...

RIP Phyllis Diller

Jersey Tom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jersey Tom said...

:-( Phyllis Diller. One funny lady.

prairiegirl said...

She was funny. And no one had a laugh like her.

AUS10 said...

Tony Scott. Cinema Giant. Inspiration. Miss you, brother. I hope you're already in pre-production on your next masterpiece in the sky.

7:23 AM - 20 Aug 12 via Echofon

I just entered a Triathlon on a whim in Austin, TX. I have 14 days to train. Who wants to do it with me? @TriRockSeries

9:13 AM - 20 Aug 12 via WhoSay · Details

I'd like to thank the University of Texas Tri-Delts for coming to Barton Springs today. Y'all are cute. I hope the video we made works out.

4:24 PM - 20 Aug 12 via WhoSay · Details

Special K said...

Go Pats!!! PreSeason Monday Night Football.

the real m said...

The story about an incurable illness is not certain, but would at least provide some logical motive. Still, the impact on the family left behind is way different than had it been natural causes, or even an illness. Could he have waited a bit longer to say his goodbyes at least. Oh well I guess well hear once the autopsy is done.

Lots of good omens here today. We saw our first praying mantis hiiding out on our myer lemon tree. He's a baby only about 1 and 1/2 inches long. Cute as a button. Then I am not kidding about 15 humming birds swarmed one of our crepe myrtle bushes around dusk. I have never seen that many in one spot at the same time before. Quite a sight to see.