An Illinois high school senior won the right to wear a tuxedo to her prom after the school district was contacted by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Belinda Sanchez, 18, said she contacted the ACLU of Illinois after Milton Patch, principal of Proviso East High School in Maywood, told her she would not be allowed to wear a tuxedo to prom, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.
Sanchez, who said she has been openly lesbian since her freshman year, said she was shocked by Patch’s decision because her school has otherwise been supportive of its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.
“This sends a negative message to other students that they can’t express who they are,” John Knight, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Project at the ACLU, said in a letter to school officials. “It’s a First Amendment right, a free speech right, and that includes her right to send a message through wearing male clothing that she doesn’t think women should be restricted to traditional female clothing.”
The Proviso Township school district sent Knight a response Thursday saying Sanchez will be allowed to wear her tuxedo to prom.
“I’m happy,” Sanchez said. “I didn’t just stand up for myself. I did this for everyone who’s in a position like I’m in.”