Monroe, La. high school senior Claudetteia Love will get to wear a tuxedo to her high school prom, after all.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights, which is providing Love with legal representation, reports that Carroll High School Principal Patrick Taylor and Monroe City School Board President Bishop Rodney McFarland Sr. called Love today (Tuesday, April 7) to let her know the news.
Taylor had told Love last week that she wouldn’t be allowed to wear a tux because “girls wear dresses and boys wear tuxes, and that’s the way it is.” He also said that faculty members scheduled to work at the prom said they wouldn’t go if Love were allowed to wear a tux.
Love and several of her friends, who had originally planned to attend prom together, declared they wouldn’t go at all. And when the news made headlines around the country, the response was swift — and negative. Two members of the Monroe County Board of Education, which oversees Carroll High School, vowed to ensure that Love would be allowed to wear a tuxedo to her prom.
NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendall said refusing to allow girls to wear tuxedoes “would have served no purpose other than to reinforce the worst sorts of harmful stereotypes and censor a core part of Claudetteia’s identity. The school is doing the right thing by supporting its students and teaching them the value of respect and acceptance of one another’s differences.”
Love herself, who has been lauded as an exemplary student and who said she wanted to be a role model for younger lesbians, said that she is excited and looking forward to attending the prom, now that she can go dressed as she wants.
“The outpouring of support has been incredible and inspiring; it is a source of strength that I will keep with me as I move on the next phase of my education and life beyond high school.”
Love’s mother, Geraldine Jackson, said, “I am very happy that the school reversed its position in time for Claudetteia and her friends to attend the prom together. Also, I am proud of Claudetteia for standing up for her right to wear a tuxedo to prom and for being true to herself. She should not have to miss out on an important milestone for all high school students because of what others might say or do.”