Prom Progress

Across the country, the battle for LGBT equality is making its presence felt during a very important (and sometimes traumatic) period for LGBT high schoolers – prom season. 

Brie Grimes and Lindsey Creel of Tallahassee, FL, became a progressive part of Leon High School’s 185-year history when they were crowned prom king and queen this past Tuesday, becoming the first lesbian couple to receive the honor. Creel rocked a black suit and skinny tie, and was accompanied by a statuesque Grimes sporting a black sequined, floor-length gown. Grimes, 17, and Creel, 18, have been together for the past three years. Having met through friends at school, they were originally hesitant to be out as a couple, for fear of ostracization. However, both ladies were pleasantly surprised at their fellow classmates’ positive reactions, as evidenced by their prom crownings. Creel hopes that their victory will send a bigger message to the younger students at her high school, as well as other high schools throughout the country. She told the Tallahassee Democrat, “I hope that people will look at this and more will begin to think that it’s ok to be supportive of the LBTQ community.”

Sadly, the prom season has not gone as smoothly for other LGBT high schoolers across the country. In Palo Cedro, CA, at Foothill High School, Hayley Lack, 16, and her girlfriend were taken off the prom ballet after being nominated as a couple for prom queen. (Historically, students had only been chosen as individuals.) The principal claimed that it would not be “fair to the boy gender,” explaining that nominating two women as a couple wouldn't be fair to those not in a relationship. The student body vocally disagreed with this statement, and two other neighboring high schools have gotten involved, creating a petition entitled “Petition for Equality for Same Sex Couples at Foothill High School.” The document currently has over a hundred signatures. 

One particular student found herself fighting for an even simpler right this past week – the opportunity to attend her own prom. Aniya Wolf, who attends Bishop McDevitt High School in PA, was kicked out of her prom for wearing a suit. Wolf, who has always been more comfortable in traditionally masculine clothing, had received an email a couple of weeks ago stating that women had to wear long dresses. She decided to attend in what made her feel the most comfortable. Upon her entrance, a school official threatened to call the police and then forcibly escorted her off the premises. 

While there is still much progress to be made on the topic of LGBT acceptance, for transgender senior Dakota Yorke, simply being prom queen runner-up was a victory. 18-year-old Yorke, who had attended her junior prom, completely miserable, in a tuxedo, was adamant about attending this year's festivities as her authentic self. Decked out in a bubblegum pink and silver gown, her hair a mass of intricately pinned curls, Yorke couldn't have been more elated about her new ensemble. According to the Chicago Tribune, when questioned about not earning the title prom queen, she replied, "I already won."