Gay Teen Constance McMillen Wins Court Case

The teen banned from her Mississippi prom wins $35,000, and continues to blaze a trail for younger generations.

By Kathryn Wilson

At Tonic, we're always happy to report good news. But today, we're especially pleased to tell you that the American Civil Liberties Union won their case against the Itawamba County School District on behalf of 18-year-old Constance McMillen!

To recap, McMillen wanted to bring her girlfriend to her senior prom but was denied this right by her Mississippi high school. School staff and students then put on a decoy prom for McMillen and other "less desirable" pupils while the majority of the student body partied 30 miles away at the real prom.

Today's ruling means that school officials are required to implement a policy banning discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and they're paying McMillen $35,000 in damages as well as her attorneys' fees.

"I'm so glad this is all over. I won't ever get my prom back, but it's worth it if it changes things at my school," McMillen said in a press release. "I hope this means that in the future students at my school will be treated fairly. I know there are students and teachers who want to start a gay-straight alliance club, and they should be able to do that without being treated like I was by the school."

As for McMillen, she'll continue to champion gay rights by shooting a documentary on the subject this summer.

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Photo by greginhollywood via Wikimedia Commons.