It’s become something of a habit for those of us in the spanko world to contrast vanilla attitudes towards our lifestyle with the public’s view of the LGBT community. I know I’ve written along those lines myself in the past.
The generally-held view seems to be that, in the developed world at least, our LGBT friends suffer far less condemnation and distrust now that they did, say, twenty years ago. The hope, then, is that we’ll travel a parallel path – and that a similar trend towards greater understanding will make it far easier to be open about being kinky in years to come. Max Mosley’s brave stance a couple of years certainly seemed like an important early step on the road to creating a more tolerant climate in the UK, for example.
And then there’s a story like the one in The Times of 22 March about an incredibly courageous young woman in Mississippi called Constance McMillen:
A lesbian, 18, whose school cancelled its annual prom to prevent her from turning up with her girlfriend and wearing a tuxedo, will today head to court to try to force education officials to reinstate the dance….
School officials had ruled that she could go to the prom with her same-sex partner but that they could not arrive together, hold hands, kiss or slow dance… When she refused to accept their conditions and set lawyers on the case, they cancelled the event. Miss McMillen has been shunned and abused by fellow students [who] blame her for the officials’ decision to cancel. One girl told her: “Thanks for ruining my senior year.”
Miss McMillen… said: “I just want to go to the prom that I’ve been looking forward to ever since I’ve known what a prom was.”
My anger at the people who run the school, and my sadness at what the incident reveals about some people’s attitudes, is scarcely tempered by my awe at Constance’s dignity. But maybe I won’t be quite so quick in future to imply that the LGBT community has reached the end of the difficult journey on which we kinky folks are just starting out.
The school in question, by the way, is Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton. I was going to drop a line to officials there expressing my thoughts about their conduct, but they seem to have removed their email details from their contacts page. Bigots and cowards, it seems.