Mississippi teen Constance McMillen made national headlines this spring when she lobbied—unsuccessfully—to bring her girlfriend to the senior prom. Now the courageous young woman is visiting Nashville to share the story of her quest for equality.
David Taylor and Michael Ward will host a cocktail party in McMillen’s honor at their home on Thursday, Oct. 28 from 6-8 pm. Members of the ACLU of Tennessee will be on hand to share in their mission: ensuring equal rights for all Tennesseans.
With the backing of the ACLU, McMillen fought an Itawamba County school board to be able to take her lesbian partner and wear a tuxedo to the Itawamba County Agricultural High School prom, in the small town of Itawamba, Miss. about 20 miles east of Tupelo.
McMillen first started her crusade when a memo sent to the student body laid out the criteria for bringing a date to the prom, and one requirement was that the person must be of the opposite sex. The ACLU told board members the restriction violated the students’ rights.
The school board responded by announcing they were canceling the entire prom.
After a lawsuit was filed on McMillen’s behalf, the school district eventually agreed to pay her $35,000 in a settlement. The school district also agreed to a non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation.
McMillen, who served as a grand marshal in the New York City Gay Pride Parade in June, completed her senior year at a high school in Jackson, Miss. A made-for-TV movie about McMillen, produced by ABC Disney, is now in the works.