Constance McMillen On Teen Suicide And Bullying; Is Voted One Of Glamour Magazine’s ‘Women Of The Year’

Constance McMillen speaks to the AP about teen suicide and also reveals that she was never a victim of bullying until after she fought her school district's decision to prohibit her form bringing her girlfriend to the prom.

Cm McMillen, 18, said she became emotional after reading about the suicides of 13-year-old Seth Walsh, of California, who hanged himself outside his home after enduring taunts from classmates, and of Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman who killed himself after his sexual encounter was secretly streamed online.

"I read it on Facebook. I was so upset about this that I could not sleep," McMillen said. "I knew it had to be terrible for them to choose death as a way to escape what they were living in."

McMillen said she has had her own suicidal thoughts. "But I never really considered it to the point where I almost did it," she said. "Everybody thinks about it when times get hard."

Growing up in the small town of Fulton, Miss., McMillen said she wasn't bullied until school officials canceled the prom rather than allow McMillen and her girlfriend to attend as a couple. "I went through a lot of harassment and bullying after the lawsuit, and I realized how bad it felt being in that position," she said.

McMillen has also been named one of Glamour magazine's "Women of the Year" for 2010. In that article, Melissa Etheridge expressed her own pride for McMillen: “She stood up and said, ‘This is who I am.’ When someone does that, it changes the world. It gives hope.”


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Constance Movie Green-lit

CONSTANCE MCMILLEN X390 (AP/MATTHEW SHARPE) | ADVOCATE.COMThe inspiring story of Constance McMillen, a gay teen who fought to take
a same-sex date to her Mississippi prom, is being turned into a
television movie.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

More Miss. homophobia: ACLU sues school for barring tux-wearing girl’s photo from yearbook

Earlier this year, the ACLU stepped in when a teenage lesbian in Mississippi was told by her school that she couldn’t attend prom with her girlfriend, and the Itawamba County School District eventually agreed to shell out $35,000 to settle the lawsuit brought by Constance McMillen.

Now the ACLU has filed suit against another Mississippi school that refused to include a female student’s name and senior photo in the yearbook because she was wearing a tuxedo. The lawsuit claims Wesson Attendance Center unfairly discriminated against Ceara Sturgis based on her sex and unfair gender stereotypes.

Sturgis attended Wesson from kindergarten through 12th grade. She was an honor student and a member of several sports teams at the school. A press release from the ACLU says nothing about Sturgis’ sexual orientation, but does say that she prefers to wear “clothing that is traditionally associated with boys” both at home and at school.

According to the ACLU press release, Sturgis at first tried to wear the “drape” used in girls’ senior photos to make it look like they are wearing a dress or a blouse, but it made her extremely uncomfortable. So the student got her mother to request that she be allowed to wear a tuxedo for the portrait. And the photographer agreed.

It wasn’t until after the whole picture-taking process was all said and done that the school principal told Sturgis he wouldn’t let the photo be published in the yearbook.

According to Bear Atwood, interim legal director for the ACLU of Mississippi, the school’s actions violate Title IX, which bans discrimination based on gender and gender stereotypes in public education. Plus, he said, they were just plain old “mean-spirited.”

—  admin