WINDY CITY TIMES
|Proviso East student successfully challenges policy prohibiting women from wearing tuxedos to prom
From a press release, posted April 1, 2011
This article shared 6890 times since Wed Apr 6, 2011
CHICAGO Little less than a year after a young Mississippi woman captured national headlines successfully challenging a local school policy that denied her ability to wear a tuxedo to a public high school prom, a Chicago area high school senior also successfully overturned such a discriminatory policy.
In a letter sent to Proviso Township School District on Wednesday, March 30, 2011, lawyers for Belinda Sanchez asked the school to reverse its decision to deny Ms. Sanchez the opportunity to attend the prom in a tuxedo, explaining that its decision violated Ms. Sanchez's constitutional rights. The Proviso East High School prom is scheduled for later this month. Ms. Sanchez lawyers at the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois were informed late yesterday in a letter from the school's Superintendent that her request has now been granted.
Ms. Sanchez wants to enjoy her senior prom with a group of friends. She has been planning this night for her entire senior year. In keeping with a school requirement that young women produce a photo of the dress they intend to wear, Ms. Sanchez met with Principal Milton Patch in March and notified him of her desire to wear a tuxedo. She selected the outfit because she thought it best represented who she is and how she expresses herself. Principal Hatch refused her request, saying that he didn't want a "sideshow" at what he described as "his" prom and suggesting that she might want to wear something "more revealing" than a tuxedo.
"I was shocked," said Ms. Sanchez. "I didn't know what to say. I felt like crying out of anger. I didn't expect it from him."
In its letter this week to Principal Patch and Proviso Township Superintendent Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, the ACLU of Illinois makes clear that a policy requiring that all girls wear dresses to a school dance is gender discrimination that is not permissible under federal law. The letter notes that " ( f ) ederal courts have consistently ruled that acting against a person for not conforming to traditional gender norms amounts to illegal sex stereotyping." The letter goes on to assert that barring Ms. Sanchez's freedom to wear a tuxedo is a violation of the First Amendment's guarantee of free expression.
Ms. Sanchez has chosen a tuxedo a white dinner jacket with black pants that her father agreed to purchase for her.
"A tuxedo fits who I am," added Ms. Sanchez.
The case is reminiscent of a Mississippi case of 2010 involving Constance McMillan. Ms. McMillan also wanted to wear a tuxedo to her prom, and was denied her right to attend with her girlfriend wearing a tuxedo by local school officials. In that instance, the school district ultimately had to pay out more than $116,000 in damages.
"We are pleased that Belinda is getting her wish," said John Knight, Director of the ACLU of Illinois LGBT & AIDS Project. "She is a strong, bright young woman who did every right thing. She respected the rules and went to talk to the principal in a courteous, thoughtful way."
"I hope she enjoys the prom," added Knight.
This article shared 6890 times since Wed Apr 6, 2011
| ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE
|NATIONAL School items, HIV/AIDS activist dies, Nex Benedict, inclusive parade 2024-03-01
- In a new survey, the Pew Research Center asked public K-12 teachers, teens and the U.S. public about the ongoing scrutiny placed on classroom curricula, mainly regarding race and LGBTQ+ identities, ABC News noted. Among other ...
|Activists and others urge removal of Oklahoma schools superintendent after Nex Benedict death 2024-02-28
- TULSA, OKLAHOMA—Today more than 350 national, state, and local organizations advocating for equality across the U.S., alongside notable public figures, issued an open letter to Oklahoma legislative leadership urging justice ...
|911 calls, videos show cascade of failures in Nex Benedict's death, GLAAD responds 2024-02-24
- "It is haunting to hear Nex Benedict, in their own words, describe how school and state leaders failed, at every level of leadership, to keep them safe from bullying and harm. Less than 24 hours later, ...
|HIV criminal laws disproportionately impact Black men in Mississippi 2024-02-21
--From a press release - A new report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that at least 43 people in Mississippi were arrested for HIV-related crimes between 2004 and 2021. Half of all arrests in the state ...
|Oklahoma non-binary student dies after being assaulted 2024-02-21
- Officials acknowledged there are unresolved questions about a 16-year-old non-binary Oklahoma student who died one day after a fight in a high school bathroom, NBC News noted. Chuck Hoskin Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, ...
|Owasso High School student of Bridge v. Oklahoma State Board of Education case dies, groups respond 2024-02-20
--From press releases - Oklahoma City, Okla. — In response to the death of 16-year-old Owasso High School student Nex Benedict following an assault in the school restroom, Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the ACLU of Oklahoma ...
|NATIONAL Utah board member, Baths founder dies, Fla. protests, DoJ equity plan 2024-02-16
- Utah's Republican governor and lieutenant governor urged the State Board of Education to take action against a conservative board member whose social-media post questioning the gender of a high school basketball player incited threats against the ...
|New Survey: Unstable housing most cited reason for food insecurity among LGBTQ+ youth 2024-01-30
--From a Williams Institute press release - A new report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that 85% of LGBTQ+ youth programs surveyed said unstable housing was the main reason LGBTQ+ youth had inadequate access to food. The programs ...
|NATIONAL Toni Atkins, Maine, bisexual advocate dies, Jussie Smollett, school board 2024-01-26
- San Diego leader and California Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins kicked off her bid to become California's next governor, becoming the latest Democrat to join the 2026 race, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Atkins is ...
|More than 210,000 Latinx LGBT immigrants live in California 2024-01-24
--From a press release - Nearly two-thirds of Latinx LGBT immigrants without Green Cards live in poverty. A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that there are 211,000 Latinx LGBT immigrants in California, including 68,800 ...
|National, state groups petition UN about human rights crisis facing LGBTQIA+ Texans 2024-01-22
--From a press release - Austin, TX - Today, Equality Texas, the ACLU of Texas, GLAAD, and the Human Rights Campaign with the support of the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law submitted a ...
|NATIONAL Trans Health Equity Act, school policy, drag items, Don Lemon, Danica Roem 2024-01-12
- The Trans Health Equity Acta law that requires Maryland's Medicaid program to cover gender-affirming treatmentstook effect Jan. 1, The Washington Blade noted. In May 2023, Democratic Gov. Wes Moore signed the act. The law covers hormone ...
|Williams Institute: 41,000 transgender immigrants live in California 2024-01-11
--From a press release - A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that there are 174,200 transgender immigrants in the United States and 41,000 transgender immigrants in California, comprising over one-quarter (27%) of the state's ...
|NATIONAL Women's college, banned books, military initiative, Oregon 2023-12-29
- After backlash regarding a decision to update its anti-discrimination policy and open enrollment to some transgender applicants, a Catholic women's college in Indiana will return to its previous admission policy, per The National Catholic Reporter. In ...
|NATIONAL School items, Miami attack, Elliot Page, Fire Island 2023-12-22
- In Virginia, new and returning members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and Fairfax County School Board were inauguratedwith some school board members opting to use banned books on the topics of slavery and LGBTQ+ ...