Thursday, April 8, 2010

Constance McMillen And A Community Gone Mad

Have you been following the story of Constance McMillen?  She is the 18-year-old from Fulton, Mississippi who was tricked into going to a fake prom while her classmates AND THEIR PARENTS planned a secret, second prom that she was not invited to.  Why?  Because she wanted to wear a tuxedo and bring her girlfriend to the dance.

Constance was discriminated against because she is a lesbian.  But honestly, it would have been wrong to act this way towards ANY human being.  It was hurtful and spiteful and mean and just plain WRONG.  And what I can't get out of my head is the fact that there were others in on this whole thing from the beginning, not just the students of Itawamba Agricultural High School. Seriously - I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when the conversation to hold a secret prom excluding a lesbian and two learning disabled students (yup, you read that right.  This gets more and more disgustinger by the minute, doesn't it?) took place.  Did the kids come home to their mommies and daddies and say, "Hey Mom and Dad.  I don't want to have a prom with those people!"  And then did their parents turn around and say "Well, you know what?  You shouldn't have to!  Let's just have a secret prom!  Because it's okay to hate people who are different than us.  That is JUST FINE.  Now go have a cookie. I'll call the school!"

I'm not trying to make light of this.  It really does sicken me.  Because you know what?  Years from now, my daughters could be Constance.  YOUR children could be her.  And how would that feel, as a parent, to know that your child has been excluded, not just by her peers - but by an entire community.  How does that happen?  Or worse...what happens if my daughter tells me that she doesn't want to go to a party where "those people" will be?  And really, it doesn't matter what "those people" are in terms of their sexuality or what they look like or if they can't do the same things that you or I can do.  What matters is that as a parent, I will have completely and utterly failed my child. And that is not okay.

When I first heard about this story my immediate thoughts went to the parents of the kids attending Itawamba Agricultural High School. - I just could not believe that they would allow something so hurtful to happen.  But the more I'm reading about this, the more I'm realizing that it wasn't just the parents.  There were LOTS of people involved in covering up the real prom, and in misleading Constance.  It must have taken all her classmates, their parents, as well as the teachers, administrators and school officials...a whole whackload of really twisted people were colluding to pull this off.  And that is what is most shocking about this story - that there was not one person who came forward to warn Constance ahead of time.  Not one teacher, not one friend, not one single person.

A whole community gone mad.

It just makes me so sad to think that there are places out there where this kind of mentality is normal, it's encouraged even.  I am bewildered by the fact that these people, the very same people who are supposed to be responsible for shaping the minds of our future leaders, didn't even stop for a second when they condoned a truly reprehensible and bigoted act of segregation.

This is not the world I want for my children, for your children, or for our future leaders.  This hatred, this seething undercurrent of discrimination that people think is normal is anything but.  It's vile and it needs to stop.  Not just for Constance McMillen and the other students that were tricked into going to a fake prom, but for the community they live in.

A community that had no problem with deceiving an 18-year-old girl just because she wasn't like more like the rest of them.

How can it be okay to treat another human being this way?

It's sheer madness, I tell you.  And it makes me sick.

And to all those who are living in their own Communities Gone Mad - please know this:  I am here for you.  We are all here for you.  And we think that you are perfect just the way you are. 

Constance McMillen

P.S. - To The Peanut Gallery - I did read your question about my photos, and would be happy to write about it very soon.  I just felt that this story was too important for me not to comment on first.  xoxoxmahreen
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