Organizers of Alternative Prom Meant to Exclude Gay Students Facing Serious Backlash

Remember the Christians in Sullivan, Indiana who gathered over the weekend to plan out an alternative prom specifically to exclude gay students?

Turns out they’re not handling the criticism very well and many of the locals are speaking out against it:

Even the pastor of the church that hosted the original organizing meeting says the church doesn’t back the effort to throw a straights-only prom for students at Sullivan High School…

Emily Butler, a junior at Sullivan High, said: “You should be able to go with whoever you want. You shouldn’t be discriminated against for what you are, what you believe in.”

Even Wyatt Land, a Sullivan student who said it was important to remember that “the Bible says for a man to love another woman,” told WTHR that he thought gay and lesbian classmates should be welcome at the official prom.

“As long as they aren’t sitting there and kissing on the dance floor and grinding on each other, stuff like that, I don’t have a problem with that,” he said. “I don’t see what’s wrong with it. Prom is for everybody. It’s a high school experience.”

Let’s make a deal, Wyatt: You stop the straight kids from grinding and making out, and then I’ll tell the gay kids to stop.

Incidentally, the Facebook group meant to discuss the alternative prom has been deactivated and Diana Medley, a special education teacher at a different school in the area and the person who was in front of the camera most often during this controversy, has said nothing to the press about the backlash.

I guess everyone will have to go to prom with all of their classmates now instead of just the straight ones.

(Thanks to Richard for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Sven2547

    Good. They deserve backlash. Call them out for what they are.

  • Octoberfurst

    The way to overcome evil is to expose it to the light.

  • Noname

    “Let’s make a deal, Wyatt: You stop the straight kids from grinding and making out, and then I’ll tell the gay kids to stop.” As a teacher, I’m pretty sure that’s YOUR job and you actually agree with the sentiment. :P

    (Of course, her implication being it’s not ok for gay people to make PDFs but it is ok for straight people, but still.)

  • ortcutt

    Conservatives are weird. They piss me off too, but mostly I just think they’re weird, sad, pathetic people.

  • m6wg4bxw

    A Christian location is where Christian rules should be applied. That’s what they attempted to do. I support them, and encourage more of the same.

  • pauleky


  • Charles M Taylor

    Yes, treating others as second class citizens because of how they were born is a wonderful religious principle to live by. Let’s all support and encourage that. I suppose you’d also support the stoning of women at Muslim locations?

  • Brian Edward Wilson

    So am i the only one that thought the idea of a bigots-only prom was a good one?

  • jdm8

    Someone mentioned on a previous story that they’re excluding themselves, in a positive way.

  • jdm8

    This probably happened with interracial couples too.

  • jdm8

    I wonder how Diana Medley’s persecution complex will manifest itself after this.

  • Nate Frein

    The church had every right to try to put together an alternative prom. And everyone who criticized their attempts had every right to do so as well.

    This effort is failing because not enough people are supporting it. The people criticizing the attempt are not forcing them to give up.

  • Miss_Beara

    Crying about persecution of their beliefs and saying that they don’t have religious freedom in this country in 3… 2… 1…

  • m6wg4bxw

    Perhaps I wasn’t clear. The typical reaction of Christians in situations like this is to appeal for special treatment. They want their Christian rules applied to everyone in the public sphere. But in this case, they instead chose to proceed as they wish on private Christian property. Good for them. If they can’t get along with everyone else, they should excuse themselves.

    This seems exactly like what happens at the end of every year with nativity scenes. Christians want them on public property while prohibiting other such expressions. And every time Hemant writes one of those stories, he makes the point that they have two options: The Christians can allow everyone the same opportunities in public, or they can take their religion to private property.

    I hope this clears up any confusion relating to an endorsement of stoning on my part.

  • m6wg4bxw

    No, I’m with you.

  • C Peterson

    I suppose different schools enforce different degrees of restriction on how much “grinding” or “making out” is too much. But the thing is, such behavior isn’t described in the Bible as sinful (at least, not as homosexual sin). So unless the kids are actually having sex on the gym floor, there’s no “sin” associated with homosexuality going on, and therefore no reason to exclude anybody. Unless, of course, you’re flat out lying when throwing out that old “love the sinner, hate the sin” chestnut.

  • keynescoase

    I don’t know, I make PDF’s pretty often for work. They’re really helpful when explaining things or showing slides. PDF’s are necessary.

  • The Captain

    Happend!? No unfortunately this still happens. I know that in GA many schools still have “private” proms. These proms are usually done even to this day as a whites only prom, and a for everyone else prom.

  • starmom

    This – a thousand times this -You stop the straight kids from grinding and making out, and then I’ll tell the gay kids to stop.

  • ScarabDrowner

    PDFs? Or did you mean PDAs? Public Displays of Affection.

  • RobMcCune

    I know there are plenty of bigots out there, but who exactly is limiting gay people to creating .docx files?

  • Stev84

    Public Display of Fellatio? Yeah, that may be a bad idea

  • Stev84
  • Stev84

    There is this awesome takedown of Medley with the legendary Billy Madison

  • Chance

    She will become a hero to the religious extremists (FRC, NOM, AFA, etc).

  • Tor

    I’m wondering what a prom with three attendees would look like.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    They did a very good job on that.

  • roberthughmclean

    Time and time again, these hate filled godbots fail miserably in their endeavours. Bit like god and the baby jesus. The only thing they and the ghost thing actually do well, is nothing. They fail at everything, might even suggest they’re not really there.

  • meekinheritance

    Man, woman,and Jeebus in between (aka, Lucky Pierre).

  • Bubba Tarandfeathered

    Diana Medley should be fired from her job. Now I’ll admit I’m making a very broad assumption here that she is using her job as pulpit to preach. Special Education classes are very often attended (oft involuntarily) by Developmentally Disabled Students who do not have the full capacity to disseminate between religious metaphor and reality. The problem I have with this is that some of these students will become hard coded to the indoctrination which in turn can become repetitive self destructive behaviors. For example extreme ritualized praying despite a clear life threatening crises, i.e. house on fire or environmental exposure or sitting endlessly in their own feces.

  • Bubba Tarandfeathered
  • Cary Whitman

    Yes, I agree that every organization has every right to hold events for their members only. So putting on a prom just for the church members, or for members of specific group of churches, is just fine, no one could possible have a problem with that; churches, schools businesses, clubs, everyone does that all the time. The problem occurs when it’s an event that is open to the public and everyone is invited except one “undesirable” group. Are you OK with it if they hold a Christmas craft fair that is open to everyone except people with red hair? Excluding gay couples from a dance that is open to everyone else is just as wrong. If they really want to have their own prom and exclude the one or two gay couples who might show up then they need to make it totally private and not invite everyone else, it could be just members of specific churches, or be invitation only, something like that, but you can’t invite everyone but “that weird kid who’s different”. Didn’t they learn anything in kindergarten? Anyone remember being in elementary school where you either had to invite the whole class (even the weird kid!) to your birthday party, or give out invitations to only a few close friends. Mom would never let you invite everyone except the weird kid, it’s the same thing, and she was right, it’s just never OK to do that.

  • wmdkitty

    I was the “weird kid” — still am — and I hated being invited “because mum said I had to”. It was always so obvious!

  • wmdkitty

    You know, humans make a huge deal over which breed you are when it really doesn’t matter. You’re all the same species, so what’s the big deal about what colour you are?

    (Mind, you won’t see cats discriminating based on breed or coat colouring — maybe humans could learn something about accepting their fellow travelers, yeah?)

  • wmdkitty

    “oft involuntarily”? I’d say damn near 100% involuntarily! Thankfully I never had a preachy instructor (and I was mainstreamed right quick because I’m not “developmentally delayed”), only a few really fucking mean ones. There was one teacher, even the “normal” kids hated her, she was really strict and once physically forced me to salute the flag. No clue what became of her, but I hope she went into a different job field, because she wasn’t cut our for a teaching gig.

  • Bubba Tarandfeathered

    Represent!! 9 years Special Education. Including 5 years on the little yellow bus.

  • Bubba Tarandfeathered

    We be kicken’ it in the same State

  • Piet Puk

    Some faith in humanity has been restored :)

  • Sandy Kokch

    And I bet you are one of the flag wrapped teary eyed god bothering people who parrot that line “With Liberty And Justice For All”.

    Do you?

    If so which are you….a liar, or a hypocrite?

  • Piet Puk

    PDF = Public Display of Faith. The annoying and sometimes inappropriate, but not illegal habit of drawing attention to oneself by overtly displaying religious acts or exclamations. Example: “Oh, no. he’s Tebowing again. What is it with christians and their need for PDF?”

  • Maria

    Yeah, obviously that kid hasn’t been to any teen clubs, or possibly any school dance ever! Because a lot of “straight” grinding and making out is just about all you’re going to see!

  • Maria

    Bwahaha! I was a bit confused when I saw “PDFs” too! lol

  • eric

    “Diana Medley, a special education teacher at a different school in the area and the person who was in front of the camera most often during this controversy”

    A special education teacher? Wow. I’d think for someone in that job, empathy and understanding the negative problems associated with social ostracism of a group – any group – are practically a job requirement. It simply baffles me how someone with this background could support hosting a prom that excludes a whole class of students.

  • Thackerie

    Public Displays of Freakiness?

  • jdm8

    I didn’t realize it still happens, thanks for letting me know.

  • m6wg4bxw

    I understand the individual words in your first sentence, but the message you created with them is a mystery to me. What does it mean?

  • m6wg4bxw

    “Are you OK with it if they hold a Christmas craft fair that is open to everyone except people with red hair?”

    Yes. I think you expect a “no” from me.

    It seems like your are snagged on the arbitrary wording of invitation. The alternatives you suggested are nothing more than restating the same admission requirements. I don’t understand how inviting only heterosexuals is different from prohibitting all homosexuals.

    I’m sorry if I missed your point. I’ve read you multiple times, trying to understand.

  • Cary Whitman

    No, honestly you make a good point. A heterosexuals-only dance is really not any different from, for example, a women’s only book club or a Latino sorority on a college campus. Except that, of course, you look like much more of an a-hole hosting the heterosexuals-only dance. So I must admit you are right in saying that the dance is not open to the public, it is really only open to one group of people, heterosexuals. That said, I’d really like to know how they plan to check sexual orientation before they let someone in the door. Do I have to prove I’ve had sex with a guy? Or will just some heavy PDAs with my date at the door suffice?

  • m6wg4bxw

    We all discriminate, and often for useful reasons. For example, against short people as basketball players, or against people with poor math skills to be accountants. Those of us who don’t find fault with homosexuality object to discriminating against homosexuals in situations like this because it seems irrelevant. Or, as you put it, it makes people look like assholes. I agree, and though I’d like humanity to get beyond irrelevant discrimination, I assume that some of those Christians think they’re doing the right thing. I’m sure plenty simply hate or fear homosexuals, and see a way to justify it with religious references. I’m with you — I want to know how they would control admission. A mandatory makeout session might weed out the homosexuals, but a bisexual could poop the party!