Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mississippi Burning Part Deux

Today, Dan Savage, my sex advice columnist boyfriend (in my head), put out a call to action over the decision by the school board in Itawamba County, Mississippi to cancel the high school senior prom rather than allow a lesbian couple to attend.

The following is the letter I sent...

Dear Superintendent McNeece and Members of the Itawamba County School Board,

I am writing to you today out of my deepest concern over your recent decision to cancel prom rather than allow one of your students, Constance McMillen, an openly gay young woman, from attending the event with her girlfriend.

I am not a resident of your county or of the state of Mississippi. I grew up in the state of Wyoming and, for a time, lived in the town of Laramie. As you may recall, Laramie, a town of approximately 25,000 people, garnered national and international attention in 1998 when a young man by the name of Matthew Shepard was beaten, tortured, and left tied to a fence post to die simply because he was openly gay. This crime simultaneously devastated the community of people who call Wyoming home and brought it together.

I believe your decision to cancel prom on the premise that Miss McMillen's petition was causing undue disruption to the education of your students is not only causing extraordinary distraction for your entire community given that now you are in the international spotlight - the story has been picked up by the media in the UK - but you've also put Miss McMillen's life in potentially grave danger. I'm sure I need not remind you about the cruelty of children. It is, I'm certain, difficult enough for all your students who identify as GLBT - secretly or openly - to navigate the choppy waters of high school, but to give the rest of your student body a retaliatory weapon so powerful, I am truly alarmed. Is it not your duty to protect every student from harm? Instead, you've consented to any and all undue suffering one of your students may now endure and instilled the belief that you would protect any perpetrator who might act out of a perceived moral imperative.

Additionally, it is the board's primary responsibility to also educate every student. By canceling prom and encouraging private citizens to hold the event in order to exclude whomever they choose, you've now taught your students that people in positions of authority need not answer to or abide by the United States Constitution. You've now encouraged your students to discriminate against anyone different from themselves.

I strongly urge you to reconsider your decision. It's the 21st century. The GLBT community is not going away nor are the rights granted them by this nation's constitution.

[in Colorado]

Yeah so...if you're compelled to speak out, the contact information is all provided to you in Dan's post I linked to up there.


Anonymous said...

you said it far better than I ever could. Well done!

Just Jane said...

Thanks, PJ.