According to The Huntsville Times, Circuit Court Judge John Graham ordered yesterday that the Board of Education in Scottsboro, Alabama was to allow a lesbian couple to attend their high school Prom. Typically, courts are not in cession on Saturday, but seeing as it was the day of the Prom, a decision was pressing. Immediately after hearing the ruling, Chelsea Overstreet, 17, a junior, and her date Lauren Martin, 16, dressed in their prom clothes and attended a press conference. You can read the full article by David Brewer of The Huntsville Times here. Apparently, since there was no state law regarding this issue, the judge was able to cite a federal law which prevents public schools from denying same-sex couples admission to Proms.
Alabama, people! We're talking the Bible Belt! I could not be happier for this beautiful couple and I hope that their friends and classmates celebrate them as they deserve. I know that at times, we get discouraged with the state of gay acceptance in our country. But change never happens overnight, and progress is being made in baby steps every day. We must celebrate each of these victories, and then spread the news so that similar steps can be taken in other places. Can you imagine the day when, rather than Prom King and Prom Queen, a high school chooses to crown a "Prom Couple", regardless of gender? It makes me so excited to think about the ramifications of this decision and the ways that equality will continue to grow.
Most women in my generation (ages 20-40) did not come to terms with their sexuality until well after high school, due to either inward or outward homophobic pressures. As our world changes, though, teens are finding the freedom to explore and determine their sexuality at younger ages. This is something that is so much healthier for them, and we need to do everything we can to continue this progress. Anyone who was forced in the closet for any amount of time can tell you about the emotional and mental consequences that resulted from such a painful experience. I dream of a day when no child, teen, or young adult is forced to deny who they are because of other people's opinions or beliefs. I can't wait until we as a society create an environment which encourages acceptance of all people, all sexualities, all genders variants. Yes, I am a woman. I am a lesbian. I am a college-graduate. I am a white, middle-class American. But all of that is secondary. Those are adjectives. Characteristics, not identities. First and foremost, I am a human being. Just like you. I will respect you as such. And one day, the majority of the world will, too.