Constance McMillen Is Back in Fulton, Mississippi, Is Super Grateful for Your Support, and Wants You to Be Nice
by Dan Savage
on Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 1:09 PM
Constance McMillen is back in Fulton, Mississippi, after spending a few days in New York City doing media. Today the ACLU asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi to issue an injunction that would prevent the Itawamba County School District from canceling Itawamba Agricultural High's prom and asked the court to prevent the school from barring Constance and her girlfriend from attending prom. We spoke by phone earlier today:
Did you expect any of this? The national attention?
When it first started, I just wanted to take my girlfriend to prom, you know? I thought it might make the local news and maybe help future LGBT students at Itawamba because hopefully they wouldn’t have to put up with what I did. I sure didn't expect any of this kind of attention.
It seems remarkable—at least from outside—that you have the support of your family.
Constance McMillen and Her Father
If I didn’t have the support from my family that I have, my goodness, there’s no way, no way, I would be doing this. I've been out to them since eighth grade. And, you know, they don’t agree with it, but they’re going to love me regardless and they're going to support me regardless. They’re not going to hate me or shun me. But personally they don’t believe in it.
Because they’re Christians. They think that being Christian means they can't say it's okay. My grandmother doesn't believe in it, I know that, but she supports me anyway. I don’t know how my daddy feels about religion.
Are you a Christian?
Yes, I am.
How do you feel about all the support you've received from around the world?
Honestly it's giving me an extra push. Anytime I feel like this is too hard, I think about the support I'm getting. And I’m just ecstatic that so many people would come together like this. I never dreamed there could be so much support out there for me. It’s just amazing. I’m so thankful.
How is it being back in Fulton?
The locals don’t like me, but I can’t help it. And things were really hostile in school last week after they cancelled prom. People were rude, and if people talked to me at all it was real short answers. There are a few people who are with me, my real friends, people who are intelligent enough to realize what's really going on here. But the majority are not on my side.
Are you nervous about classes resuming next week?
No, I’m not. I don’t really care what people think. If it’s untrue, then I care. What I did, I would do it the same way all over again. Because I think it’s important. And I’m not worried. If they’re going to be like that, not talk to me, or ask me about it, if they’re just going to talk to me behind my back, I can't be concerned with that.
What is Teresa McNeece, the superintendent of Itawamba schools, like? Have you had any personal interactions with her? How does she treat you?
I don’t have a personal problem with anyone in the administration personally. Ms. McNeece is nice to talk to, but she’s kind of uptight, very conservative. Which is crazy because she’s got a daughter who’s not much older than me. I would think she’d be used to things of this generation, things of my generation, the differences and the diversity. But I guess she’s not.
And Itawamba Agricultural High School principal Trae Wiygul?
He’s very uptight, and he’s very country, a conservative Christian. But Ms. McNeece and Mr. Wiygul have both treated me very respectfully when I've talked with them.
I've encouraged my readers and listeners to get in touch with Ms. McNeece and Mr. Wiygul. Any advice for folks who are sitting down to write letters?
If they’re going to write to them or the school board, they should please be respectful. No one hears if you’re screaming and mad and cussing and stuff. Tell them exactly how you feel, but in a respectful way. That’s what they need to hear—they need to hear how all sorts of Americans feel about what they’ve done.
Hm... screaming and cussing and stuff have always worked for me. But let's take Constance's advice and be nice when we write to Superintendent McNeece and Principal Wiygul. Their numbers and email addresses once again:
Let 'em hear from you. Then join the Facebook group "Let Constance Take Her Girlfriend to Prom" by clicking here. Then make a tax-deductible donation to support Constance's ACLU LGBT Project team by clicking here.