by Dan Savage
on Fri, Mar 12, 2010 at 2:05 PM
Her Facebook page—"Let Constance Take Her Girlfriend to Prom"—is on track to have 100,000 members before the end of the day. Constance posted a touching video to her page earlier today thanking everyone who has rallied to her side.
#Constance is trending on Twitter today.... whatever that means. Ellen Degenes just twittered Constance's story... and she has 4.3 million followers.
A New Orleans hotel owner—Sean Cummings—has offered to bus students from Fulton to New Orleans for a free-of-charge prom at his hotel.
The Stonewall Democrats are gathering signatures for a petition backing Colorado Congressman Jared Polis's Student Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 4530), which would ban discrimination against LGBT students.
And this will be of interest to bear lovers everywhere: Constance McMillen's father is hot...
...and he's on his daughter's side. So is Constance's grandmother. Even in small towns, even in places as small as Fulton, Mississippi, gay and lesbian teenagers increasingly have the love and support of their families. Back when our families were likelier to be unsupportive or actively hostile, back when most gay teenagers had to hide their sexual orientations from their parents, bigoted teachers and school officials could discriminate or retaliate against gay teenagers with impunity. Those days are over. Welcome to the future, Itawamba County Schools.
And, finally, this is about more than Constance, this is about more than just the bigots on the Itawamba County school board. This is about vulnerable LGBT high school and middle school students all over the country. While more and more LGBT students enjoy the support of their families and friends, LGBT students still face harassment from their peers and hostility from school administrators. And the harassment doesn't just impact the lives of openly gay students. Closeted gay students, who may be more isolated, witness discrimination against openly gay students and are made to feel fearful. By coming down on the Itawamba County School system—and by coming down on them hard—we're not just sending a message to the bigots running a high school in a corner of Mississippi. We're sending a message to school boards and superintendents and principals all over the country: you will pay a price if you discriminate against or encourage other students to retaliate against LGBT youth.