For many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, prom season can be overwhelming. Every year, Equality Texas receives calls and emails from students scolded for bringing a same-sex date to a prom, or punished by angered school administrators for not wearing gender-specific clothing. Rules that have any potential to exclude LGBT students from these events are not only outdated policies; they are unfriendly, unconstitutional, and violate Title IX protections against sex discrimination.
Prom is an important ritual for teens everywhere, and LGBT youth make their prom experiences relevant in a variety of ways. Students use clothing to express themselves at a prom, and media coverage is often extensively devoted to their clothing choices as LGBT youth. Schools throughout the state of Texas this Prom Season have an opportunity to host events that give all youth a safe and supportive environment that also affirms who they are.
“Equality Texas employs a team of people that understand firsthand what it feels like to be a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender teen. We’ve all been a teenager. We should do everything we can to end discrimination for our LGBT youth. School districts have a legal and moral obligation to refrain from policies that limit a student’s ability to fully participate in school events; whether this is a student bringing a date of the same-sex or a teen that has chosen to express their identities with formal clothing in a nonconforming way.” Chuck Smith, Equality Texas CEO
Even as acceptance of LGBT people grows nationwide and in Texas, those opposed to equality have become more vocal and more bold in their attempts to codify discrimination in the law and in school policies. It’s imperative this prom season for schools to do the right thing and prohibit discrimination against students, particularly as hateful rhetoric against LGBT people continues to dominate the news cycle. Equality Texas strongly encourages journalists to chronicle any school policies in Texas that that do not integrate LGBT students or other restrictions that limit a student’s ability to participate fully in prom festivities.