The Second Chance Prom Was a Success!

After Constance McMillen was forbidden from attending her own high school prom because she was a lesbian — and after “adults” in the community sent her to a fake prom — the American Humanist Association and philanthropist Todd Stiefel stepped in to make a difference.

They donated money to give her (and her classmates) a Second Chance Prom.

Green Day pitched in money as well, and Lance Bass made a personal appearance.

That event took place over the weekend and Todd was nice enough to give me a report of how it went:

I got back yesterday from a great time in Tupelo, MS. Who knew, but fun lives in Tupelo!

My friend Robb and I went there as guests for the Second Chance Prom, a celebration of equality which was attended by a few hundred kids from all over Mississippi. This event was huge mostly due to the bravery of Constance McMillen after she was not allowed to bring her girlfriend as her date to prom. As you likely have heard, Constance stood up for what was right and was rewarded with her school district canceling the main prom and by her peers who threw a bogus prom for her while they went to the real private prom. The bigoted intolerance she was subjected to is completely inexcusable.

I was so thrilled to see a huge helping of justice served with the Second Chance Prom. Straight kids and LGBT kids were bused in from all over the state to attend the event. The gold sponsors for the event were Green Day and the American Humanist Association. Lance Bass attended, sponsored and spoke to the audience. The crowd got to rock with a great dance-rock concert by Hey Champ, who volunteered to play for free (check them out at heychamp.com — they are big supporters of the freethought and LGBT movements). Then, DJ ?uestlove came out and entranced the crowd. How many kids get that level of talent at their proms? The general consensus was that the Second Chance Prom was much cooler than any of our first proms.

Score one for the good guys/gals on this one. It was great to be able to participate in a happy ending for the school year for these kids. There is nothing quite like seeing kids being themselves, having fun and showing love and tolerance to one another.

I’m glad Constance was finally able to have a decent prom and I hope she had a great time there.

It’s really a wonderful, touching story about how the Humanist community and GLBT supporters came to the rescue. Especially when you consider how the conservative, religious community at her high school did everything in their power to make her last weeks of high school miserable.

  • rbray18

    cue indignation of random posters in 3..2..1..

  • http://renegadesaint.deviantart.com/ British Cat

    That’s awesome :) I’m glad people were willing to help that poor girl. I know that senior prom in the US is a rite of passage, and of course, everyone should be able to experience it equally.

  • http://lyonlegal.blogspot.com/ Vincent

    That’s great.

    Are there any public figures who spoke out in support of the parents et al. who conned her into the fake prom? I would really like to know how anyone could possibly justify that behavior.

  • Bob

    @Vincent:

    How do they justify that behavior?

    ::: points at Bible :::

  • Samiimas

    cue indignation of random posters in 3..2..1..

    Is it indignation if I go on an angry rant about how 90% of the gay blogs I go to will never even mention this but if a single christian in the town had so much as swallowed the loogie before spitting on Constance they’d be hailing it as proof that Christianity is now 100% accepting of homosexuality and that only a mean nasty angsthiest would claim religion is the reason we’re treated like crap? *as bob pointed out*

  • Claudia

    Awesome news, glad to hear this (finally) had a happy ending. Now we need to get Constance done with graduation without the Phelps brood bothering too much, and then Constance can get the hell out of there for good.

    @Samiimas you need to get your ass to better gay blogs then. Dan Savage has been all over this, and while he’s not all gay, all the time (well, he is, but the blog isn’t) he stays on top of most relevant news. Also check out http://www.goodasyou.org/, also good folks.

  • Emily the non-Catholic

    I’m interested to know the reactions of other students from her school. They said they bused in people from all over the state…so who exactly was invited? I thought it would have made a statement with the “Constance quit yer cryin” crowd to have a “much cooler” prom shoved in their faces. Then they’d have to make a decision about accepting LGBT students…or at least pretending like they do, which is more than they’re doing now.

    Judging from the comments section of local papers that covered the event, I’d say most of the locals didn’t learn a damn thing from this whole experience. But hopefully Constance and her friends had a good time.

  • Trace

    “a celebration of equality which was attended by a few hundred kids from all over Mississippi.”

    Damned sinners! They had to bus them in? Sad.

  • Darrell Barker

    Good News, no not the Bible and no not “15 minutes could save you 15% or more,” not that Good News either, but the news of standing up for what’s right for those the Christians despise the most is the real good news here. Thank You all for your kind efforts to do the right thing.

  • fritzy

    Let’s see: Constance has now become somewhat of a hero in the LGBT community, as well as a significant portion of the population as a whole, she got to go to a dance sponsored by Green Day and DJ’d by
    ?uestlove, the yokels in her backward town have been portrayed like the wrong-headed troglodites that they are and history will most certainly place this town on the shameful side, where they belong. in the end this seems like a win for Constance. Yeah, she didn’t get to go to the official school prom like she should have been able to and she’s had to endure a lot of BS but through her experience, she’s helped demonstrate that behavior like that inflicted on her by the people of Tupelo is quickly becoming inexcusable and entirely outdated in our society.

    Score one for the good guys!

  • JB Tait

    It was my impression that everyone was welcome, even those who had attended the private prom. Can anyone confirm that?

    I hope all the students from the fake prom and anyone else in the area who had been excluded were also able to attend this Second Chance and enjoy themselves, so that the reparations went well beyond Constance.

  • Angie

    I’m glad that this story had a happy ending. Score one for the good guys!

  • http://reanhouse.blogspot.com Sarah

    I’d like to think “our guys’ didn’t stoop to their level and exclude Constance’s classmates. (Although I must admit a part of me is hoping they did and that her classmates are seething with jealousy right now).

    Does anyone know if they were invited?

  • http://lfab-uvm.blogspot.com chanson

    my first reaction was like @JB’s — I hope the others sent to the fake prom were all included in this one, and that even those who went to the earlier private prom were invited. A great day for inclusion! :D

  • http://lyonlegal.blogspot.com/ Vincent

    @Bob
    Yeah, I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where it says you should deceive sinners and party behind their backs.

    And Jesus is famous for having hung out with the lowest sinners around: e.g. Luke 5:29-31.

  • Todd Stiefel

    Hi folks. Anyone from Constance’s school was allowed to come, from what I was told by the organizers. Nobody was excluded. This was a time for healing and showing how much better the world can be (and more fun) when we are inclusive. I thought it was a great solution, because I would have been very unhappy if it was just another prom for only Constance’s school and it turned into a reward of the jerks and she still felt like an outcast. As it turned out, it was a better prom and she got to be a hero.

  • Marilyn

    Mr. Mehta,
    In your last paragraphs you stated that the religious community in Tupelo did everything they could to make Constance’s last days of school miserable. Constance does not live in Tupelo nor were there any actions taken by the Tupelo religious community. Tupelo was just the location of the Second Chance Prom. My understanding is that the young people were allowed to celebrate here without any interference from the Tupelo community. The media did not do a heavy coverage of the event so that the young folks could enjoy themselves without worrying about any invasion of their privacy. I have a friend that attended as a chaperone and she tells me that a good time was had by all.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    Marilyn — Thanks for pointing that out. My intention was to refer to her school community, so I’ve changed that phrasing to fix that.

  • Jen

    I heard Constance had to switch schools because the kids were bullying her even after they got their gayless prom. Can anyone conform that?

  • DebGod

    There was another student, a trans student, at Constance’s school who was harrassed to the point of leaving the school after only one day: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2010/03/24/itawamba-agricultural-high-school-suspended-a-transgendered-student-back-in-january

    Juin also attended the Second Chance Prom.

  • Marisa

    I, too, would like to thank Hemant for the post. Even though I read several LGBT blogs no one bothered to mention it on any of them. Perhaps someday the LGBT community will become as thoughtful as the atheist, agnostic, and humanist community.

  • Jab041979

    I am a Christian and I still think what happened was totally unacceptable. The Bible preaches that ONLY God can judge. “Judge not lest ye be judged” I am not perfect or sinless, and if I judge others I will be just as harshly judge by God himself. People use the Bible as a reason to go on their own agendas which is why Christianity gets such a bad name. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t support nor endorse homosexuality but I also would not refuse to allow someone who is different than me or what I believe in to co-exist with me either.