Arizona | Discrimination | News

Straight Arizona Student Denied Right to Be Prom Queen Says He's Standing Up for LGBT Students: VIDEO


River Flanary, a straight high school student in Tempe, Arizona, ran for prom queen and won after receiving the most votes of any of the candidates on a write-in ballot. Flanary designed his own dress for the occasion, but school officials are saying he can't attend. Flanary says his rights have been violated, CBS5 reports:

When CBS 5 News asked him why he wanted to run he said, "I guess you could say that I am standing up for those who maybe weren't bold enough to stand up before and maybe putting that courage in their hearts a little."

He said he is talking about homosexuals, bi-sexuals or transgender students, but the Tempe School District is being very clear that a prom ballot is a write-in ballot that asks students to write in names of girls for queen and names of boys for king.

"If they want to challenge the way the ballots are written, that would need to be addressed, and it wasn't," said Linda Littell with the Tempe Union High School District.


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  1. I don't know. I appreciate the sentiment, but not everyone who is gay wants to crossdress and there is more to it

    Posted by: Steve | Apr 17, 2012 6:42:27 PM

  2. I agree. I wouldn't have wanted to be prom queen, courage or no, but I think it's nice that he's trying to stand up against strict gender roles. It may not encompass all LGBTs, but it's not often you have a straight teenager trying to stand up for any of us.

    Posted by: Brad | Apr 17, 2012 6:55:39 PM

  3. Wow. Jesus, I mean River, looks to have been growing his beard since he was about 4.

    Nice of him, but I don't quite get it if he can't articulate his motivation better. Especially since it sounds a bit insulting.

    Posted by: Paul R | Apr 17, 2012 6:57:08 PM

  4. This is just effing immature stupidity. Who cares.

    Posted by: Reppin2 | Apr 17, 2012 7:14:08 PM

  5. That news station in the clip refers to being gay as "sexual preference" and the reporter oddly enunciates the word "homosexuals" instead of "gay." Are we sure that's a CBS station? 'cause it sure sounds an awful lot like FOX.

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Apr 17, 2012 7:20:15 PM

  6. Dear School Admin,

    Stop caring so f'ing much about this petty BS and focus on educating our kids! We're far more concerned with the low scholastic scores and horrible drop-out rates, then who can be PROM QUEEN! It's for the students, they chose, end of story! Focus on the important stuff and stop trying to restrict nonsense!!!

    Posted by: Hollywood, CA | Apr 17, 2012 7:21:12 PM

  7. I guess I'm one of the few gay guys who enjoys being a male.

    Posted by: happyday | Apr 17, 2012 7:22:17 PM

  8. I think this is a hoot. He is poking at the uptight school district and they responded by showing their prejudice. He won the most votes, afterall. I may never want to wear a dress but I will defend anyone's right to do so. He also got the kids in his school to think about gender roles. I say thanks!

    Posted by: Joey | Apr 17, 2012 7:26:15 PM

  9. Wait, this hippy is in high school? WTF?!

    @BobbyJoe - This is Arizona where I think there are maybe 50 of us liberals in the entire state. So not surprising that a reporter for the CBS affiliate would sound like they were from FOX instead.

    Posted by: Phoenix Justice | Apr 17, 2012 7:28:19 PM

  10. yes, these seems to be another gender issue that we get saddled with. i know its not popular to say but i really wish we could retire LGBT and go back to being just Gay. i dont know why trans is lumped in with us.

    Posted by: Homo Genius | Apr 17, 2012 7:30:08 PM

  11. I'm not sure if it's all over Canada, but we don't even *do* Kings and Queens at Prom/Formal.

    Nobody 'wins', everyone just celebrates and dances. I'm not sure I understand this whole king/queen business. Just like I don't understand some of the comments on here. HappyDay, really? It looks more like you're one more of those gay guys that forgets that there are also trans men and women in our larger collective community. It's not all about you, or gay men, exclusively.
    I think it's rather clear that this is a great and conscientious young straight man who is bringing attention to not only diversity, but cultures of expectation. If a straight man isnt' offended or afraid of winning "Prom Queen", maybe some of you gay men should stop being associated with any use of the word "Queen", in your own lives. The kneejerk responses on here weren't too enlightened. This kid stuck his neck out for everyone perceived as different - show some thanks or stfu.

    Posted by: Symon | Apr 17, 2012 7:30:20 PM

  12. The school is WAY out of line here. Gay boys can show up in dresses and run from prom queen, but straight boys can't? And who is going to check their sexual orientation?

    At 1:20, the report says this guy got the most votes for Prom Queen, so he should win. It's called freedom and democracy.

    Posted by: Randy | Apr 17, 2012 7:31:26 PM

  13. Symon, we didn't have kings and queens at my highschool, either. It's not much of a canuck thing.

    homo-non-genius: "i know its not popular to say but i really wish we could retire LGBT and go back to being just Gay. "

    that's funny - because a large part of the population wishes you could retire being gay and go back into the Closet.

    see how that works? if you're not going to stand in solidarity with your trans brothers and sisters, dont' ever expect any straight people to stand in solidarity with you. truly.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 17, 2012 7:41:25 PM

  14. It is just the students f*cking with the administration. Good one!

    Posted by: Some queens have beards | Apr 17, 2012 7:41:39 PM

  15. Here is the thing, yeah, River's heart is in the right place, and what he's fighting for is ultimately what we're all fighting for, or at least should. And that would be tearing down institutionalized gender-discriminatory, extremely rigid, gender-norms. What we see on these comments when stories like this are posted is that there is, tragically, a pretty fair amount of gay men who are almost as anti-fem gay, and in some cases, more so, than homophobic straights. We see the stories of STRAIGHT people who accept gay men who are more fem whereas on this website GAY men attack any man who dares not be masculine. It's really pathetic, because being a gay/bisexual male alone puts us outside of what rigid gender norms see as being a man. So you anti-fem types are fighting for NOTHING, and are whining for NOTHING, but what you are doing is exposing your own insecurities and biases for all to see, and it's ugly.

    Rock on, River, glad to see you have support from your fellow students, and you have a supporter in me, too.

    Posted by: Francis | Apr 17, 2012 7:49:27 PM

  16. you show me a gay man who attacks perceived "effeminate" behaviors and/or gay men and i'll show you a wimp who can't stand up to real bullies.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 17, 2012 8:01:34 PM

  17. Didn't something very similar happen on an episode of The Partridge Family?

    Posted by: dang | Apr 17, 2012 8:43:16 PM

  18. If the kid got the most votes he should be prom queen. Why do serious educators get bent out of shape over silly issues like this?

    Posted by: jack | Apr 17, 2012 8:54:07 PM

  19. Judging from that picture, the headline should read "Hobo Denied Right to Be Prom Queen..."

    Posted by: Jase | Apr 17, 2012 8:58:20 PM

  20. Let Jesus win! Let Jesus win!

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Apr 17, 2012 8:59:28 PM

  21. Ugh, his draping skills are the worst. Auf with his head.

    Posted by: laQas | Apr 17, 2012 9:27:58 PM

  22. kinda misguided, but I guess he's trying to make a point, so...

    Posted by: ACe | Apr 17, 2012 9:33:13 PM

  23. I like his Jesus Christ look. He's got my vote.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Apr 17, 2012 9:46:13 PM

  24. Hard to know what to make of this. It's good that this kid is standing up for a group he considers oppressed. He seems to mean well. And I'd sure rather hear of him doing this than hear of another gay or trans kid committing suicide. He got the most votes? Then considering how the culture is changing, the school administrators should do the wise thing and let him be "the prom queen" or whatever. There will only be backlash if they try to stop him. Any anti-LBGT sentiment these days gets a person labelled a "hater" and invites a lawsuit.

    Posted by: Mary | Apr 17, 2012 9:55:36 PM

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