When teenagers think about the important events in their high school careers, a number of achievements come to mind: getting a driver’s license, making it to senior year, prom, and graduation. For most teens, these events are celebrated and revered, but for many LGBT teens, prom can be extremely stressful. We’ve all heard horror stories of gay students not being allowed to buy tickets for their dates or being excluded from prom all together. But luckily for LGBT students at one high school, the joys of prom won’t be threatened.
Last month, a high school in Indiana came under fire when a local group wanted to ban LGBT teens from attending this year’s prom. Sullivan High School was quick to defend its LGBT students when a community group voiced support for a “traditional” prom that would ban gay and lesbian students. Students and staff alike voiced support for an inclusive prom, showing everyone that hatred will not be tolerated and that every student, LGBT or not, deserves the right to attend prom.
Unfortunately, not all schools are as open-minded as Sullivan High School. Over the years, there have been numerous schools banning same-sex couples at proms or making it extremely difficult for LGBT students to purchase tickets for themselves and their dates. Gay-Straight Alliances around the country hold “gay proms” specifically for LGBT young people and allies, hoping to create a safe environment where students can have fun and dance the night away without having to fear repercussions. While I’m glad there are these alternatives, it deeply saddens me that we still need them at all.
With the increased support for equality, it’s no surprise that students are finding their voices and are standing up for the rights of all people. Sullivan High School took a stand against hatred and bigotry, but there are still many schools that exclude LGBT students from enjoying one of the most important events in high school. By working together, getting actively involved, and standing up for equality, we can make sure that every student has a fun, enjoyable, and safe prom this year.