Archive → April, 2010
I’m always a little nervous when I think back on High School, because I was really unhappy then and sick a lot. I was certainly the kind of kid who would have been sent to a fake prom. I mean if I had gone to the prom, and if my classmates had ever dreamed of doing such a thing. Oh, and if in my Catholic school anyone would have ever dared bring a same-sex date.
Water under the bridge…
Today I wrote to Constance’s principal about the whole mess;
My letter’s below:
Dear Ms. McNeece,
I’m deeply saddened by the events that took place during your school’s recent prom(s). It is always difficult to acknowledge what extreme capacity for cruelty we, as human beings, have. It reminds me how much work we all still have to do.
The events of last weekend can not be altered. Most of your high school’s senior class–with the support of their parents–willfully shunned a small minority of students by their duplicitous act. What they did was perhaps within their legal rights, but clearly it was morally wrong. And not the kind of behavior that should be tolerated.
I am not writing asking you to punish or expel these students–I realize you can not expel an entire graduating class. I am writing in hopes that you will truly seize this moment to educate your students and your community. Perhaps you and your staff will find a gift in this horrific event. You have been given an opportunity to create change. A chance to engage in dialogue. You have this time now to talk to your students. Discover what fears they hold so deeply within themselves that would cause them to act with such disregard toward these few ostracized classmates. Explain to them that it is the acceptance of our differences–not the rejection– that makes us, as a society, flourish.
Right now great leadership is called for. I believe if you take charge and act you will transform this moment.
I have spent the last several years writing a novel about marriage equality called, “The Marrying Kind.” It will be published later this summer. The story is sweet and funny but also challenges us all to stand up against injustice. If you would find it helpful for me to plan a trip to come and talk to your students and staff about equality, I’d be honored to assist you.
Perhaps because my book is coming out in a few months and so I’m feeling a little more stressed than usual, I’ve been having some unsettling dreams. In addition to being a writer, I am also a licensed massage therapist. The other night I dreamt that a real life client of mine named Paul came over for a session. He pulled off all of his clothes, started to hop up on the table and then stopped. He stood before me naked and said, “I just want to thank you for never once, in all the times you’ve massaged me, ever making an issue out of the fact that I am transgender.
I want to make it clear that I would not find it at all unsettling to massage a transgender person. I did however find the dream unsettling because Paul isn’t transgender. In the dream I became confused. Was this man who I have seen naked multiple times actually born female? Or was Paul just messing with me. I wasn’t sure but I was leaning toward the later explanation.
The dream reminded me of other dreams I’ve had, like when you show up at a party and you’re suddenly aware you’ve gone to the wrong place and you panic because you’re lost and you don’t know how to get to where you really belong. And then, if you’re me, you realize you forgot to wear any pants.
And you wake up. Thank God. And it was all just a bad dream.
Only sometimes it’s not a dream. Sometimes, something terrible has really happened.
On Friday night Constance McMillen– the high school girl from Mississippi who has gotten so much attention for wanting to take her girlfriend to the prom– arrived at the event to discover there were only a few other students in attendance.
The rumors that this event was created to keep Constance from attending the “real prom” have not been confirmed. But as far as I see it there are only two possibilities.
Either Constance was at the real prom but no one else would go because there was going to be a lesbian there.
There was a real prom some place else that Constance wasn’t told about because she’s a lesbian.
I’m not sure which explanation I find more despicable.
I’ll leave it up to you. Feel free to weigh in.