Illinois Lesbian Wins Right To Wear Tuxedo To Prom

An openly lesbian Chicago-area high school senior who was told she could not wear a tuxedo to her prom has now won the right to do so. Belinda Sanchez's Proviso East High School principal initially informed her that she was required to wear a dress to the event. The Chicago Tribune reports:

Tux She wound up contacting the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois over the prom situation. On Wednesday, the group sent a letter to the school district backing her position.

"This sends a negative message to other students that they can't express who they are," said John Knight, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Project at the ACLU. "It's a First Amendment right, a free speech right, and that includes her right to send a message through wearing male clothing that she doesn't think women should be restricted to traditional female clothing."

On Thursday, the Proviso Township school district sent a response to Knight saying that Sanchez will be allowed to wear a tuxedo to the prom, on April 22.

A school district spokeswoman wrote an email to the Tribune about how the incident involving Sanchez has been a learning experience for the school: "(Sanchez has opened) up a new, very interesting and healthy dialogue in terms of our prom review procedures. We support our students in all of their differences and we encourage them to express themselves in various ways as long as it is not disruptive to the school environment. The principal gave his initial determination based on his interpretation of the policy, and the student asked that it be reconsidered. After looking into the policy — it was."

High school lesbians wearing tuxes in school has foolishly been an issue all over the country. You may remember similar situations last year in Mississippi and Arkansas.

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  1. Talk about gay panic. I went to high school in Indiana in the late 90s, and three or four girls wore tuxes to prom. But they just showed up in them. We didn't get any letter saying "GIRLS MUST DRESS LIKE GIRLS." So no one cared.

    Posted by: Robert | Apr 2, 2011 12:00:56 PM

  2. Really? We have to fight just to wear "alternative" clothing? sigh.

    Posted by: StillmarriedinCA | Apr 2, 2011 12:56:39 PM

  3. I second STILLMARRIEDINCA's point. For that matter, what's so "alternative" with a tux on a female? Lesbians aren't the only women who look hot in a tux! Prom isn't exactly "school environment either. It's their last freakin' party as a class together for goodness sake! What a crap message to send these young adults off into the world with.

    Posted by: VinceB | Apr 2, 2011 1:28:08 PM

  4. Whoa... that's my sister high school. And that's my middle school principal. I don't know how Proviso thought they could get away with this- there is very much a queer presence at the three Proviso schools now. Go Belinda!

    Posted by: Edgar | Apr 2, 2011 2:49:30 PM

  5. Um, why was the principal even involved in deciding what she would be wearing to her prom? That's kinda weird in, and of, itself! Females in pants & tuxes is neither earth-shattering nor new, since Dietrich did it back in the 30s and it was pretty damned glamorous. I graduated in 78, and one of our female cheerleaders, and her boyfriend, wore matching tuxes to prom...they looked GREAT. All of a sudden this is an issue in a city like CHICAGO? wtf...

    Posted by: jim | Apr 2, 2011 3:20:29 PM

  6. I'm an alumni of the sister high school proviso west and i must say reading this gave me the happiest feeling. Good for her! I'm so glad she won her argument. I also agree with the second comment. Its truly ridiculous that we have to fight because of the clothes we wear. If you take the time to really really think about what it is you're making such a big deal out of, you should feel like an ass. My 3 year old cousins argue over more important things.

    Posted by: lesbotron2020 | Apr 2, 2011 5:10:24 PM

  7. While its fantastic that she was able to wear what she wanted to her prom... did it have to be THAT tux?

    Oh lesbians...

    Posted by: Scott | Apr 2, 2011 6:24:23 PM

  8. I actually remember a couple lesbians wearing tuxes at my HS prom 10 yrs ago... I think they were called girls basketball players then so nobody knew to think otherwise.

    Posted by: Mike | Apr 3, 2011 11:23:17 PM

  9. I don't remember guys wearing dresses though. That would have made the news. Guys were called f*gs then so everybody knew otherwise.

    Posted by: Mike | Apr 3, 2011 11:24:45 PM

  10. @Mike,

    What universe do you love in? The F word is very much alive and in use.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Apr 4, 2011 1:17:38 AM

  11. She's "won the right" to wear a tux? Funny, I thought she was born with that right. Well, that one and a few others our country still refuses to recognize.

    Posted by: OY | Apr 4, 2011 9:51:31 AM

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