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. It still amazes me that there are so many gay men who comment on here suffering from internalized homophobia combined with an utter lack of knowledge re: gay history. So get this: you wouldn't have ANY rights if it weren't for the drag queens and trans people who FOUGHT for your lame a$$ in 1969 and the lesbians who took care of the gay men literally DYING on the street in the 80's. Get a farking clue, you ungrateful 'holes.

    Posted by: wtf | Apr 17, 2012 10:32:27 PM

  2. Cool straight people like this fill me with chagrin. I applaud his actions. This is a very different thing than what life was like back in the early eighties when I was a teen. No straight boy could have concieved of doing such a thing. He would have been thrown out of school and if he wanted to sue, his parents wouldn't let him until he was eighteen and they couldn't stop him. He is very lucky to be able to do this. He is brave. Obviously things do change. I used to think they don't, but I simply can't hold that position in the face of this story. I am over sensitive,but, I am so touched my hands are unsteady.

    Posted by: H8Str8s | Apr 17, 2012 11:10:00 PM

  3. I think it's a bit much for men, gay or straight or bi, take on the role of prom queen. Isn't it just another case of men trying to take something away from women? I could understand if someone were trans, but male identifying individuals have their own category.

    Male privilege in our society shouldn't be extended to take one of the few roles desired by women.

    Posted by: James | Apr 17, 2012 11:12:15 PM

  4. @WTF right on!

    Gender is a social construct. Until y'all realize this you continue to oppress yourselves with these stupid, out-dated notions of masculinity and femininity. Men can have a feminine penis and women can have a masculine vagina. Our true nature is genderless. This is all just a choice, unless you're still programmed and don't see it yet. Welcome to 2012. It's never been like we think it has. Wake up to reality.

    Posted by: Mhmm | Apr 17, 2012 11:21:36 PM

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  6. I totally agree with you Homo Genius. The trans need their own group. As a gay man, I don't have the same issues as a trans person. I have no gender identity issues - I am a man who is attracted to other men. Lumping trans people in with gays just makes things confusing.

    Posted by: DJ | Apr 18, 2012 1:48:41 AM

  7. Ok I guess this is someone trying to be helpful to gay folk, but I disagree and I am one of them gays.

    When a guy runs for prom queen they are taking away the experience from the females who run for such. A queen is a female,not a male straight or gay. Let him run for king and see if the novelty of which there is none gets him votes.

    Hey if a lesbian was voted in and then a stink were made I would be right there protesting, but a guy is not a queen and gal is not a king.

    I am a gay male not a gay female, if I were I would be a lesbian.

    Posted by: Mikie Dennis | Apr 18, 2012 1:56:41 AM

  8. Dang, this kid's still in highschool?! That beard's thicker than the hair on my head!

    And yeah, it may not the right way to go about it, but his heart is in the right place and he deserves our support.

    Oh, and I dare everyone to close your eyes, and say RICK three times.

    Posted by: Winston | Apr 18, 2012 3:20:15 AM

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  10. There is a time and place for expressing one's individuality. The school is looking or a king (male) and a queen (female). They can set their rules for the contest.

    Posted by: And NowThis | Apr 18, 2012 4:27:46 AM

  11. The school has set the rules for the contest: king (male), queen (female). So it should be, but I applaud the kid.

    Posted by: And NowThis | Apr 18, 2012 4:32:51 AM

  12. kids! next thing you know they are going to want salt and pepper shakers on the cafeteria tables. oh boy. will they picket for pepper?

    Posted by: Oliver | Apr 18, 2012 5:08:01 AM

  13. Just another case in our decaying country where winning a popular vote does not always mean you will win. I believe this has happened before on a much larger scale; Al Gore and G.W. Bush. All though this is on a much sillier platform, does the same runs not apply?

    Posted by: JM Texas | Apr 18, 2012 6:23:00 AM

  14. So can we have a pic of the king?

    Why does his pic make me think, WWJD?

    Posted by: Some queens have beards | Apr 18, 2012 7:47:20 AM

  15. He got the most votes, he should be queen.

    Glad he is making the school administration squirm. I'm so tired of the rigid mentality of these highly paid people.

    Posted by: homer | Apr 18, 2012 9:22:36 AM

  16. Towleroad identifies this guy as straight, which is probably true. But he could very well be "trans." Most trans people are straight. And trans is defined so broadly as to include straight guys who get off on wearing women's clothes. None of this has anything to do with gay people, which is why "LGBT" is so nonsensical.

    Posted by: Danny | Apr 18, 2012 11:08:29 AM

  17. I never knew the Gay Rights movement was about getting the "right" for boys to compete against girls for Prom Queen titles? What's next: Gay men fighting to compete in the Miss America and Universe pageants? This is what happens when we get so caught up in Gay stereotypes, we start confusing them with reality. This is also the kind of thing that's sure to spark anti-Gay backlash, and the pathetic thing is, it's not even worth it! Putting such tomfoolery on a par with our fights for marriage equality, open military service and workplace protections amounts to a complete mockery of the equality struggle.

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Apr 18, 2012 12:18:14 PM

  18. @James
    I see your point and I admit I overlooked it at first in having taken deeply to heart the intent of the young gentleman. Try to look at it as performance art/demonstration for gay equality. I think it would have been great if he could have made his point some way that wouldn't be seen to be taking anything away from anybody in anyone's mind. And I can see in a sense that he is. That is too bad. He could not have made his point any other way.
    Have you asked yourself if this gender stereotypeing is at all good for girls? Wasn't this prom king and qeen bit made up when girls were girls and boys were boys? Isn't it about time we got over that? Isn't this his point? Do you applaud that at least, even if you can't appreciate how he is doing it? I mean, do you think gender stereotyping is good perhaps?

    Posted by: H8Str8s | Apr 18, 2012 12:51:03 PM

  19. OMG SYMON, I LOVE YOU! You totally got the REAL message here; "This kid stuck his neck out for everyone perceived as different - show some thanks or stfu."
    MANY people on the "fringes" of society..those who are perceived as "different" and therefore are marginalized or treated as downright "unacceptable".. ALL owe a big "THANK YOU" to this straight but enlightened young man.My hat's off to him! :D

    Posted by: RedRoseQueen1 | Apr 18, 2012 1:12:35 PM

  20. Stuffed Animal: are you really that obtuse? Do you do it on purpose? Or just stupid. Yeah, that's it. You're just an idiot. That's the only possible explanation. DJ and Mikie Dennis are obviously undereducated, so there's some hope that they MIGHT be able to understand the concept of what's going on here. But Stuffed Animal? No, you understand it; you just choose to turn it into something else. Oh, that's right. You're a TROLL. Concern troll is concerned. That's it. Fool.

    Posted by: wtf | Apr 18, 2012 2:26:00 PM

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  24. J-just no. Please, stop, River.

    River intentionally did this as a joke. But, ever since he got in trouble for it, he's made nothing into something. People probably just voted for him because he was different or they thought he was funny. I was walking with my friends and we happened to walk by him. My friends were laughing and giggling about a guy in a dress. Smooth move, River. Now, students will think it's okay to laugh at guys in dresses!

    Next thing you know, all the bathrooms will be for both genders...

    Posted by: Jenny | Apr 21, 2012 1:04:00 AM

  25. I have piles and piles of photos and boxes of scrapbooking items to scrap. Not sure where to start. Maybe this class will help get me in the mood…. Thank youfor the chance to win.


    Posted by: buy cheap dvds | May 12, 2012 4:48:30 AM

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