You’ve probably heard by now that this Candice McMillen is ruining all the fun to be had in Jackson, Mississippi with her girl-loving, tux wearing ways. According to an article by Sheila Byrd in the Associated Press:
The district announced Wednesday it wouldn’t host the April 2 prom. The decision came after the American Civil Liberties UnionACLU said the district not letting McMillen wear a tuxedo violated her free expression rights.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Oxford to force the school district to sponsor the prom and allow McMillen to bring whom she chooses and wear what she wants.
Want to get in touch with why I started dapperQ? Get a load of the more than 47,000 comments following the AP story. The haters are out there. Homosexuality is the primary target in their crosshairs, but the fact that we dare wear clothes not assigned to us is no small part of the story. I purposefully chose the word “transgressing” to describe what we do here at dapperQ because it is a word with deeply theological roots. Southerners, like the haters who cancelled Candice McMillen’s prom, know it well.
Gender roles, and that in which they are clothed, are drilled into all of us from infancy. Most of us not only align with these rules, we police those who do not. Go into any bakery in mid-town and see how we all know what we are supposed to wear. Girls wear dress, heels, nice pantsuits. Guys wear suits and ties. It’s mindblowing when you step back and see the extent to which the vast majority walk in lockstep to these demands.
dapperQ is deeply subversive, deeply transgressive. I expect we will at some point, if we do our work well here, become targets of the haters. Because we are dangerous. We don’t just wish Candice well, we wish her dressed well and feeling like a million bucks.
You’ll find many Southerners who agree with you, by the way. Candice deserves our support. As for the haters, if your soul is prickly and small enough, then just about anything will chafe it.
Ugh, what an upsetting story. The 47,000 comments most of all. Not much has changed. According to Faderman (I think?) in the last millenium or so, nearly all of the woman put to death for being gay were the dapperQs…not their femme lovers. Transgressing gender roles (and its expression through clothing) was way more frightening than just a couple of women falling in love.
It’s not at all uncommon or frowned upon for young women to attend prom together as a group, forego the male date and dance unabashedly with one another…..as long as they don dresses for the occasion. Thank you DapperQ for speaking out, it breaks my heart to imagine my daughter (or any young person) being forced to wear something she felt less than herself in, not to mention being made the scapegoat for a ruined prom. Shame on that school board for cancelling the prom! I would love to see these two young women dress up as they would have for the prom and revel in the requisite pre-prom photo-shoot celebrating them and their free expression. Could be great for them–and for the world to see.
I chose not to read the comments, because standing next to all that hate lowers my own vibration, and why would I ever want to do that? What I found WONDERFUL is that in a small southern town of only 4,000 people, her family, most especially her FATHER supports her. That’s a slam dunk good thing in my book.
It’s only a matter of time before GLBT folks have our full civil rights recognized and legally protected. I believe the tide has irreversibly turned.
Have I mentioned how thrilled I am to have found this website?
Aight. Go forth and prosper, and dress well while you’re doing it!
Thanks for doing a post about this! When reading about Candice just yesterday my first thought was how great it is that people like Candice just keep on rising up, beating their righteous ways through all the noise to get to their own truth.
And I couldn’t agree with you more Robin about girls going to prom together. I went stag to my own prom in the late 80’s and although it felt like I was wearing some kind of strange costume I borrowed a dress from a friend’s mother. Yikes. I even liked dresses but probably would have paired mine with some boots and a jean jacket had I have had a “choice”. Not very dapper I know but it would have at least been my own style 😉
I can’t even count the number of times that people (both gay and straight) dispute the fact that I get discriminated against for dressing the way I do, or having short hair, or dating other women. “But it’s 2010!” they say. “Nobody cares anymore- it’s all leftist hype!” This story proves that LGBT discrimination is still around us– even in school systems, which are meant to nurture/teach/inspire kids and communities. We’re all people, we all deserve rights, we all deserve happiness, and we all deserve to be who we are, and who we choose to be. Let’s stand tall with Candice- it’s the only way to change our future!
Susan, thanks for writing the article and for dapperly fighting to make more room for well-tailored and other kinds of queer and butch and trans and human self-expression.
I went to high school 60 miles SE of Washington DC. We actually were not allowed to take same sex dates to prom either. Not to mention when I tried to start a GSA at the school none of the teachers would step up to be sponsors. Not even the openly gay Drama teacher. He said he was afraid of being perceived as “starting trouble”.
I graduated in 2003. A year or two later my little brother tried again to start a GSA. He ran into the same barriers. As far as I know this school still does not have a GSA.
Just pointing out you don’t have to go all the way down to Mississippi to see haters hating.
Keep fighting the good fight. Know that we’re standing right here beside you.
This story makes me sick to my stomach. We have to fight these battles every day, in and around the most innocuous seeming events. I am really proud, though, that candice is fighting back and has drawn so much support from around the country.
Wow thanks for putting this up there. We have a long way to go. I agree it was great to hear her Dad support her. And you know this is actually a great thing and will hopefully enforce the rights of high school dapperq’s all over now that it has pulic attention from canceling the prom. Look at what the media attention did for Kelli Peterson in Salt Lake City. The highschooler who tried to start a Gay/Straight Alliance in her school and then they outlawed all clubs but she eventually secured the rights for students all over.
My first reaction: small-town America doesn’t sound very fun. Or stylish.
Second reaction: People who write comments that say “minorities insisting on their rights ruins the fun for everyone else” may need to tone down the hyperboles. Or at least hire a teeny violinist to play in the background.
Her name is constance BTW but I know that things like this happen all the time in schools. Kids need to be protected from rights violations but they arent. Its a very sad story and needs to be changed.