Gay NC Teens Allowed to go to Prom After Cool Mom Steps In

Teens

Two gay teens, Jordan Nixon and his boyfriend Chase have been allowed to attend prom at Starmount High School in Booneville, NC after Jordan's mom Leesa heard how Chase had been told by the principal that he couldn't bring a "friend" to the prom. After explaining that Jordan was not a friend but a "boyfriend" the school still wouldn't relent.

Jordan's mom Leesa Nixon went to the principal, threatened to take action and go to the media, and quickly the issue was resolved.

This is the story of a great parent standing up for her gay kid and a school faced with the threat of exposing its discriminatory behavior.

Writes Leesa Nixon:

"The discrimination that Chase was confronted with has been resolved. I called and spoke with his principal and informed her that not allowing Chase to bring his boyfriend to the prom was discrimination and a violation of his constitutionally protected rights. I threatened to call the ACLU, (which I did) and go to the media.

After our first conversation, I was contacted by Mrs. Parker, who informed me that she was waiting on the school attorney to call.

April 7th, Mrs. Parker left a message on my phone stating that she had spoken with the school attorney and that the school was going to allow Chase to bring my son Jordan to his Senior Prom “as his outside date” and that what they were going to have to do, was change the rule to allow students to bring a guest and not necessarily a “date”.

To be fair to Mrs. Parker, I got the distinct impression that she did not agree with this policy and was only trying to follow the rules that were in effect in her school district before she got there. She immediately went to work and corrected the issue at hand.

I applaud Starmount High School for their quick actions, I brought this issue to their attention and in one day they not only changed their initial decision, they changed their policy to ensure that this would never happen again. Although they change their policy to state “guest” instead of “date”, it is still a step in the right direction and they should be admired for their willingness to change. It is my hope that all schools would respond to these issues in such a fair and timely manner.

Head on over to Jack Mackenroth's blog to read the entire tale, as well as Chase's account of his meeting with the principal.

Enjoy your prom, guys!

Comments

  1. robert says

    “I applaud Starmount High School for their quick actions”

    I wouldn’t necessarily applaud them if Leesa had to threaten legal action and media exposure to get them to change their policy. That sounds more like expediency than being principled.

  2. TampaZeke says

    I applaud these courageous kids and the awesome mom.

    This is truly a step forward but I have a problem with them changing to policy to state that a student can bring a “guest” instead of a “date”.

    This was a clever way for the school system to actually win in its discrimination. They ONLY changed the language so that they could continue to hold the policy that students can’t take same-sex dates. Though this woman’s son will be allowed to go with his “guest” they have been reduced to “friends”. This tactic is used all the time to reduce, and deny, our relationships with clever twists of the tongue.

    The correct policy change would have been to leave the language in place and define “date” in a gender neutral way. At the very least they could have changed it to state that a student can bring a date or guest and let the student determine how they choose to identify their “guest” or “date”.

  3. TampaZeke says

    And it seems to me that this only became a problem when males started finding the courage and audacity to take a same sex “date”, “guest” or “friend”.

    Girls have been attending proms with other females, even girlfriends, since the very first prom ever held.

    Is there ANYONE here who didn’t have girls who came to their prom with another girl? Mine sure did, and no one said a word.

  4. Mike C. says

    “Jordan’s mom Leesa Nixon went to the principal, threatened to take action and go to the media, and quickly the issue was resolved.”

    And then she went to the media anyway. Isn’t it possible to have two gay students go to the prom together without everyone making a media spectacle of it now? This is precisely the reason why many schools try to PREVENT gay kids from going to the prom.

    Jordan and Chase should be allowed to go to the prom without a peep from anyone, just like every other normal high school student

  5. Zlick says

    Well, semantics or not, considering the recent spate of prom discrimination news, this is how it’s done, and it’s nice to see it done nicely. Sure, there is some clean-up needed around the edges, but overall – exactly how it should be. And the next step for next year’s proms will be for schools not to make a fuss in the first place.

  6. crispy says

    It’s great to see young gay guys getting to take their boyfriends to the prom. But I wonder about all the fat chicks now left without dates.

  7. Matt McD says

    Do Chase and Jordan go to the same school? They had to change the rule regarding “outside dates” therefore I get the impression they did not go to the same school. I can understand not wanting a student to bring someone who doesn’t go to the school if they’re just friends, but the simply way to do that is just to tell those people that they can’t bring a friend. If they say “Chase got to bring his friend!” you can just say, “No, Chase is bringing a date.” Knowing high schoolers I doubt they’d try to claim a friend is actually more than a friend. Even if they did, now that they’ve changed the rule it doesn’t even matter.

    The end result is that this young man gets to go to the prom with his boyfriend, and I’m grateful to Mrs. Parker for that. I think I could’ve been resolved much easier if people weren’t so arrogant.

  8. anon says

    Nice, but she apparently did go to the media after all. When I was growing up I don’t recall anyone needing the school’s permission on who they brought. A friend brought a married, 35 y.o. women to the prom! (They were not married to each other.)

  9. Randy says

    Cute boyfriends.

    I think the rule change is a good one, but what does changing the rule to allow “friends” have to do with this couple? They are each other’s date.

  10. bobbyjoe says

    @ Mike C.

    I couldn’t agree more with your sentiment that we SHOULD be at a point where it was no big deal when two gay students go as dates to a prom, but you couldn’t be more wrong when you say this about this ending up in the media:

    “This is precisely the reason why many schools try to PREVENT gay kids from going to the prom.”

    No, that’s not the reason. The reason is bigotry, pure and simple. And it is important than when this kind of bigotry is overcome it becomes newsworthy. These examples where students triumph over initial prejudice by authority figures help inspire others, and that’s how progress is made. That’s news.

    But if a principal thought “hey, I’m not going to let these gay kids go to the prom together because if we DID let them go together we might end up in the news,” that principal would either be the dumbest person on earth or in need of serious psychological help. Believe it or not, in more progressive school districts (like not in Mississippi and North Carolina), gay and lesbian kids do sometimes go to the prom together, and it doesn’t end up in the news.

    The way these recent cases have made it to the media is because the school administrations have first tried to prevent the students from going, forcing threats of legal action. If the school hadn’t said a peep about them going, I’m not sure why any news outlet other than maybe the religious right lunatic fringe would have found it newsworthy. It’s really difficult to imagine a news break saying “Tonight at eleven: two gay kids go to prom!!!!!” if there’d been no original controversy or pushback from the school.

  11. Mike C. says

    I echo Anon’s comment, aside from that the mother should not have gone to the media after she agreed she wouldn’t, why couldn’t the kid have just brought his friend/bf to the prom without asking and making a big stink about it?

  12. Michael B says

    I believe that the School Boards across the nation needs some serious re-education about all of us in the LGBT Community, and cut all the stereotyping, etc. If I was Out back in 1983, I believe that my Mom would have done the same thing. I didn’t come out til July of 2008 at the age of 45. I never went to my prom.

  13. JusticeontheRocks says

    Mike C. – Based on what i read, mom agreed not to go to the media to air her gripes and let them work it our internally. She did exactly that. She went to the media discussing a succesful resolution. Besides, in this social climate you aren’t going to keep these things out of the media anyway. I give her major credit for doing the righ thing the right way.

    Maybe when people see gay couples at proms and the world doesn’t come to an end, we can move on to other things.

  14. alguien says

    i was in high school in the 70s and have absolutely no recollection whatsoever of schools dictating who one could bring to the prom.

    my sister went to her prom with a group of friends (and i don’t believe any of them were paired up) and no one thought twice about it.

    my school was so small that, instead of proms, we just had free-for-all dance parties that everyone attended.

    it just seems a little strange that to people can’t go to a party together because they’re both boys or both girls-regardless of whether or not they’re dating.

  15. Hue-Man says

    Despite the personal stress endured by these kids, there are three very positive aspects of these stories: 1. Parents and educators are reminded that there are and have always been gay kids going to prom. 2. Out gay kids are learning that they can go to prom with whomever they want because others have blazed the trail. 3. Educators are learning how stupid they are made to look when they discriminate.

    The Justin/Austin dance on Ugly Betty didn’t appear to cause any heart attacks or fainting (maybe they were off camera). Why should it be any different at a prom?

  16. TampaZeke says

    ZLICK, do you really think changing an existing policy which allowed students to bring “dates” to a new policy that allows them to bring “guests”, a policy that was only changed so that same-sex couples would not be recognized as “dates”, is nothing more than an issue of semantics?

    You probably also believe that the only difference between marriage and legally recognized roommates or civil unions is only matter of semantics.

    If it were simply a matter of semantics then people wouldn’t be so crazy obsessed with making sure that gays don’t get to officially call their dates “dates” or call their marriages “marriages”. Their would have been no need to change the wording of the policy. They would have just recognized that “dates” could be of either gender.

  17. TampaZeke says

    And as for media exposure, the kid in Georgia found the courage to take a same-sex date to his prom BECAUSE OF the media attention to Costance McMillan in Mississippi. The kids in NC probably were inspired by the stories from MS and GA. Some kid in Arkansas may find inspiration from the other stories that he/she sees on television or online. Why does this bother you so much? Does it upset you that more and more kids are refusing to be treated as second class citizens and they want the world to know that they’re not taking it anymore. You should be applauding these kids as heroes. You can’t even bother to call the kids in NC boyfriends, as THEY refer to themselves. Instead you use the dismissive “friend/boyfriend” snip to subtly show your disdain.

    You likely didn’t have the strength or the courage that these kids did and rather than being impressed you choose to lash out and condemn.

    I for one am thankful that the next generation is more like the kids in MS, GA and NC and less like you. You must be on the HRC board of spineless directors.

  18. says

    Thank you for posting Jordan and Chase’s story!! I deeply appreciate it:) I know that it is not a perfect solution, but it is a step in the right direction!

    There shouldn’t even be a question of who student’s bring to the prom, if they are allowed to bring a date, then they should be able to bring the date of their choice..be they same sex or not. It is after their date and not the schools. LOL

    As for why I went to the media, well technically I didn’t. Just to be clear, I never made any agreement with the school about not going to the media or making this story public. My reason for telling our story is because I wanted to share this small victory, and try to offer hope to other student’s faced with the same discrimination!!

    It is hard enough being a teenager, it is made even harder when GLB&T teens are faced with constant hate and discrimination by the people who educate our nations children! I was hoping this would offer them hope and show other’s that change is possible, slow…but possible. and coming soon to a school near you!

    Please call your congressional Rep and urge the to pass the Student Non-Discrimination Act, the link is avalible on Jack’s blog.

    Again that you all for such wonderful comments and discussion!!

  19. TommyOC says

    While you might not agree with the agent of change used here, this is an instance of displaying the carrot side of the “Carrot or the Whip” scenario.

    You beat up school districts who deny gays the right to bring their boyfriends but you do little to congratulate ones that do.

    Send an e-mail to the school and tell them you thank them for what they’ve done for this young man’s self-esteem.

  20. TANK says

    Yeah, tommy…that because people shouldn’t be thanked for doing what they should do. What a sad statement about you that you think people need applause and thanks for doing what they ought to do.

  21. TampaZeke says

    LEESA, You frickin ROCK!

    I wish my mother had been as supportive of me when I was coming out.

    You, and courageous, protective, activist parents like you are my heroes/heroines. I

    You did the right thing all the way around. I’m so glad that you made sure your story was told. Kids across the country will be inspired to stand up for themselves because of your example.

    I am so inspired by this new generation of kids who REFUSE to be treated like second class citizens. To many of their elders in the community haven’t yet gotten to that point. These kids, and their supportive parents in the heart of Dixie, give me hope for the future.

  22. TANK says

    Yeah, but rest assured that that principle would have if it weren’t for high profile aclu lawsuits on this issue. So I guess intent really doesn’t matter to your plaudits. It doesn’t to me, either…but it does.

  23. mike shackleford says

    These are all kids in the frigg’n Bible Belt who are standing up for themselves fer christ-sakes. I hope the Point Foundation recognises & rewards them.

  24. Wheezy says

    Back in the dark days of the late 80’s/early 90’s we never had to register our ‘dates’ or ask permission to bring somebody to prom. We just bought as many tickets as we wanted and showed up. Some came as a couple, some came as singles, some came in a group, and some very shy wall-flowers came with older (adult) cousin/sibling dates. Nobody cared or made a fuss. Is this pre-approval thing new? Or just a regional custom?

  25. walter says

    remember the school districts in tenn and ga
    acted correctly, only ms behaved badly. in ga it was the boys parents who where shitheads by throwing their son out of the house. i remember going to my prom with a girl wouldn’t think of taking a boy friend, but we had one couple there who were way out complete with died hair, there was no comments and this was way back before stonewall

  26. says

    I really don’t know what is up with the permission forms, it almost takes an act of Congress to go to prom here, permission from the “visiting” dates Principal, parent permission, picture I.D.

    What got me was when the school told Chase he couldn’t bring a “friend”, what, do they have to be married to go to prom, cause honestly at that age?

    And when the principal asked him if he had a back up plan, “a girlfriend” he could bring–well wouldn’t that be bringing a friend, instead of a date, since he is gay?

    I just felt like the school was reaching to find a reason to bar Chase from bring a guy as his date.

    I have honestly had it with the discrimination my children,(I have one gay one bi) have to face everyday at school or on the school bus! Jordan has been spit on, called a faggot and worse and my daughter is constantly singled out by school official’s. She actually got in trouble at school yesterday for asking the coach if he was a homophobe!!! That’s my girl!! He was singling her out and she called him on it.

    Did you know that straight kids can make out all over the school, but a bi-sexual can’t hug her best friend, kiss her on the cheek and tell her bye. Yea, it was news to me too. That isn’t sexual conduct, that is friendship, love, and human!

    Jordan’s school knows not to mess with him, but this is a new school for Mariah and they are going to learn the hard way that I will not tolerate their discrimination of my child!! I guess, someone should have told Chase’s school that too, because mine or not, I love him. Besides, I am not the type to stand back and watch anyone be treated like this!

  27. says

    A new generation of birds who chirp because chirping is the thing to do…….congratulations to these young men…they are braver, happier than I ever was at their age and it is so inspiring to see a new generation of birds, whether chorping or spreading their wings.
    “Oh, but everyone was a bird and the song was wordless;
    The singing will never be done”.

  28. Rin says

    When I went to prom back in the dark ages gay kids brought their dates, they just didn’t advertise to the administration. Also, wallflowers went with friends and that wasn’t an issue either. It wasn’t about bringing a “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” because you could even go stag. It seems like things have gotten worse or something.

    Anyway, bravo to the mom. I’d be all over someone who tried to discriminate against my kid.

  29. Tom says

    It’s an interesting piece of timing, but just an hour ago I had a conversation with my sister, who believes that my nephew may be gay. I was so proud of her when she indicated that neither she nor my brother-in-law were concerned about this, except insofar that they want my nephew to not feel isolated.

    When I was his age, the demons I faced were nearly insurmountable, and I was isolated. Being gay just didn’t exist where I grew up. That parents like Leesa and my nephew’s parents are becoming the norm rather than the exception (at least I hope so) means that a lot of otherwise unhappy kids can instead enter adulthood with greater security and personal productivity.

    Brava, Leesa, and good on ya.

  30. Barry- Key West says

    Hooray for the kids, and for Mom; nonetheless it’s so telling that it would have just killed that principal to allow the same word, “date,” to be used by these boys as though that would somehow cheapen it’s use by the hetero students. It’s exactly the same as big-hearted liberals graciously wanting to “allow” gay people to enjoy “Civil Unions.” Two steps forward, one step back.

  31. nic says

    @barry-key west,

    how is that “exactly the same” (tautology) as liberals allowing civil unions? you are conflating different issues. i despise facile mindedness. leesa fought for her son’s rights — end of story. don’t interject your non sequiturs into a clean and clear story of justice and bravery.

  32. nic says

    TANK,

    is this turning into a love/hate relationship where you love me and i loathe you? give me a heads up, buddy; perhaps we can be friends, after all. you really don’t want to get into a bitch fight with a mexican fag who’s got a burr under his assless chaps and a bone to pick with self-satisfied white geezers. i’m jus sayin’.

  33. Cody says

    I don’t understand how so many people can be applauded and praised for standing up for what is not right… We should be talking about the other schools decision to not let them go and stand up for what they beleive in. Which is right

  34. joshua says

    i am an alumni of this school and let me tell you that the mere fact that this was allowed was a huge step for rural yadkin county as a openly gay male (now and then) i applaud the student as much as the parent

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