Claudetteia Love is the kind of student and person we all want to see succeed in everything she does. She’s an honors student who is on track to graduate near the top of her class and has already accepted a full academic scholarship to Jackson State University.
Claudetteia is also openly gay, and for her prom at Carroll High School in Monroe, Louisiana, she wanted to wear a tuxedo. But the principal told her she would not be allowed to. So Love says she simply won’t go to the prom. She and some of her friends will instead boycott the event. And her reasoning proves what a wonderful young lady she is:
“It hurt my feelings. The four years I’ve been there I’ve always dressed the way I dress. I’ve always been open. And no one has had a problem with it. But when the time comes around to celebrate everything I accomplished in high school — I was told that I couldn’t do it because of the way I am.”
When Claudetteia’s mother, Geraldine Jackson, asked Carroll High principal Patrick Taylor why her daughter would not be allowed to dress as she wanted to for the April 24 prom, Taylor told her:
“Girls wear dresses and boys wear tuxes, and that’s the way it is.”
Perhaps, but it doesn’t have to remain that way, Mr. Taylor. Surely there’s some leeway in that tradition.
Love says that most of all she wants to make it easier for gay teens to be accepted for who they are and not be ashamed of their sexuality:
“There are other girls in lower grades than me, and I want for them when they come up to not to have to feel like they aren’t accepted. I don’t want them to feel like they are less of a person because people don’t accept them. There are people in the world that won’t accept you but they don’t have to be so judgmental and make you feel like you’re less of a person and that you shouldn’t express yourself.”
In other words, to be an individual, to be unique, which, the last time I checked, is supposed to be the kind of thing we encourage in this nation.
But some good news did arrive late last week from Monroe City School Board President Rodney McFarland. McFarland said he School Superintendent Brent Vidrine to discuss Love’s tux request. He added:
“As school board president, I don’t agree with Carroll banning her from her prom just because of what she wants to wear — that’s discrimination. As far as I know there is no Monroe City School Board policy saying what someone has to wear to attend the prom. You can’t just go making up policies.”
So Claudetteia Love may just get to wear that tuxedo after all. And I bet she will look fantastic in it.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.