Every year LGBT students are faced with their school districts institutionalizing anti-LGBT sentiment. For example, Constance McMillen made waves last year after a depressing series of events was initiated when she was told by school administrators she would not be allowed to atend her highschool prom because she requested bringing her girlfriend as her date. After the school’s prom was cancelled, a private prom was organized in which McMillen and her girlfriend were invited. Meanwhile, parents of those attending the school conspired to throw a secret prom for their children, one which would exclude McMillen. McMillen attended the “decoy” prom with her date and a few others students seemingly deemed unfit to attend by the other parents. Due to the discrimination Constance experienced, she eventually transferred from the school, located within Itawamba County School District in Mississippi.
Last week, a similar situation arose, pitting discriminatory school administrators in opposition to an LGBT individual. Andy Moreno, an 18-year-old senior who identifies as a transgender woman at North Dallas High School, decided she would run for homecoming queen. Moreno’s campaign started for fun, but became serious when she was told by a school counselor that there were administrators against the idea of her running. Moreno reached out to Principal Dinnah Escanilla, who said that she was “a gay male,” and that she would not be allowed to run for homecoming queen, but suggested homecoming king instead.
Following the decision to exclude Moreno from the homecoming court regardless of the number of votes cast for her, a rally took place outside of the school demanding a revote. Moreno also decided not to take the harassment lying down, choosing to stand up for her rights, taking the controversy to local news agents, and even scoring a feature on MTV News. When reached for comment by MTV News, the school district stated, "It again should be noted that Dallas Independent School District is proud to have one of the most progressive anti-discrimination policies among school districts in the state." However, "The district's administration continues to support the principal with this decision."
Moreno hopes the attention will have a positive influence on those in her school and in the community. PFLAG applauds Moreno for being brave enough to stand up to the discrimination she’s been forced to put up with, and we hope her visibility in her community inspires those around her to recognize her identity and embrace her right to participate in the homecoming queen court.