Pet of the Week: Dean

Dean is a stunning black-and-white tuxedo kitty with olive-green eyes. He’s 2 years old but seldom acts his age. Dean loves people and is great with children and other cats, too. Sometimes he’s playful, sometimes he’s laidback, and he’s always loving. June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, and the purrfect time to make Dean a part of the family.

Dean and many other dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are available for adoption from Dallas Animal Services, 1818 N. Westmoreland at I-30, just minutes west of Downtown Dallas. The shelter is open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Sundays noon-5 p.m. The cost to adopt is $85 for dogs and $55 for cats and includes spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, microchip and more. All dogs are negative for heartworms, and cats have been tested for FeLV and FIV. For more information, visit DallasAnimalServices.org or call 214-671-0249.

—  John Wright

Ceara Sturgis’ Tuxedo Yearbook Photo Has Come To This: A Bikini Photo

Having refused to let Ceara Sturgis appear in her yearbook photo wearing a tuxedo — or even print her name among classmates — the Wesson Attendance Center in Mississippi earned itself a lawsuit from the ACLU. So how is the school responding? By trying to discredit Ceara by proving she sometimes does wear lady-like clothes. Like a bikini. And they'd like the court to see a photo of her wearing one.

CONTINUED »


Permalink | Post a comment | Add to del.icio.us


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Queerty

—  admin

A glimpse of the change to come: School officials yank trans teen’s homecoming king crown

The San Francisco Chronicle posted a story online today about Oakleigh Reed, a transgender 17-year-old at Mona Shores High School in Muskegon, Mich., who was voted homecoming king by his classmates after he launched a Facebook campaign for the crown. But then school officials yanked Oak’s crown, declaring that students can only choose a boy for homecoming kind, and Oak — as he is known to his friends — is not a boy.

Oak has been coming to terms with his gender identity for some time, and his classmates and teachers and family have apparently been coming to terms along with him. His teachers refer to Oak with male pronouns in class. The school allows him to wear a tuxedo when he marches with the band. And he has been given permission to wear the male cap and gown at graduation.

But because he is “still enrolled as a female” at the high school, Oak can’t be homecoming king, school officials declared.

Another homecoming king has already been crowned. But Oak’s classmates, angry that their votes were ignored, have taken to Facebook to protest with a page called “Oak is Our King.” And they are encouraging everyone to wear T-shirts bearing that slogan to school on Friday, Oct. 1. The Chronicle says that the ACLU is considering taking on the case.

Now, I figure there are two ways to look at this, and I guess when it comes right down to it, you can see it both ways at once. First of all — and this was my first reaction — is to be angry at school administrators who completely discounted the choice of the majority of the students who wanted to honor their friend Oak by naming him homecoming king. We could see it as just another example of the way LGBT people, especially LGBT youth, are mistreated by a bigoted society.

That’s all true, of course. But look again and you can see a very bright silver lining to this cloud: The fact that the students voted a transgender teen as homecoming king. If that’s not progress, what is?

There will come a day when the “old guard” — the ones that take away homecoming king crowns and refuse to letLGBT students take their same-gender dates to the prom and insist they dress according to outdated gender stereotypes — will be gone and this younger, more open-minded and accepting generation will be in charge. And maybe when that happens, the young people of that day will stand aghast at the idea that same-sex couples weren’t allowed to get married, that gays and lesbians couldn’t serve openly in the military, that transgenders were ridiculed just for trying to be themselves.

I’m not saying we should stop fighting for those things now and wait for the inevitable change. I  know I don’t have that much patience, and I am sure most of you don’t either.  But I do think we can take heart in knowing that change is coming. Whether the bigots like it or not.

—  admin

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

Date set for hearing in lesbian's suit over senior prom

Constance McMillen will get her day in court. And that day will be Monday, March 22.

The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Constance, a senior at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Miss., after IAHS officials canceled the senior prom rather than let Constance wear a tuxedo and take her girlfriend as a date to the prom. The judge has set the first hearing in the case for next Monday.

Constance McMillen
Constance McMillen

Constance and the ACLU are asking the court to issue an injunction forcing the school to hold the prom.

The prom was originally set for April 2.

In a recent interview with Dan Savage, Constance said that she has had a hard time in her hometown since th prom was cancelled. She told Savage:

“The locals don’t like me, but I can’t help it. And things were really hostile in school last week after they cancelled prom. People were rude, and if people talked to me at all it was real short answers. There are a few people who are with me, my real friends, people who are intelligent enough to realize what’s really going on here. But the majority are not on my side.”

She also asked that supporters who want to write letters to IAHS officials “please be respectful. No one hears if you’re screaming and mad and cussing and stuff. Tell them exactly how you feel, but in a respectful way.”

A Facebook page in support of Constance already has more than 320,000 fans.

—  admin

No prom at Itawamba Agricultural High

All that Constance McMillen wanted was the chance to take the person she is dating to her high school prom — which doesn’t seem like a big deal. Except that Constance, 18, is an out lesbian and the person she is dating is a sophomore

Constance McMillen
Constance McMillen

girl, and officials at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Mississippi just couldn’t let that happen.

(Constance also wanted to wear a tuxedo. That’s a big no-no at IAHS, too.)

So Constance went to the ACLU and asked for help. The ACLU sent the school a letter demanding the school district change its policy. And school district officials have now responded by canceling prom outright.

School board members issued this statement: “Due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events, the Itawamba County School District has decided to not host a prom at Itawamba Agricultural High School this year.”

Maybe, the school board members, the people of the community could put together a prom for the kids. (Although Constance probably wouldn’t be able to take her girlfriend or wear a tux to that one, either.)

Constance is aghast. “Oh, my God. That’s really messed up because the message they are sending is that if they have to let gay people go to prom that they are not going to have one,” she told USA Today. “A bunch of kids at school are really going to hate me for this.”

Read more about it here.

—  admin

ACLU fighting Mississippi school's 'no lesbians at the prom' rule

Constance McMillen, 18, is a senior at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Mississippi. She is also a lesbian. And she wants to take her girlfriend to her senior prom.

School officials said no. They said Constance and her girlfriend cannot arrive at the prom together and Constance cannot wear a tuxedo to the prom. They can both go to the prom separately, and if they both wear the “appropriate attire.” But then, if any of the other students complain about them being there, Constance and her girlfriend will be thrown out.

(From the way the press release was written, it implies that the lesbian couple’s mere presence is enough to make other students uncomfortable enough to complain and warrant the couple’s ejection from the event.)

So now, the ACLU and the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition have issued a demand that Itawamba County Schools officials reverse their decision and let Constance and her girlfriend attend prom as a couple. The two groups sent a letter to school officials that “cited federal court cases guaranteeing students’ First Amendment right to bring same-sex dates to school dances, and also pointed out that treating McMillen and other lesbian, gay, and bisexual students differently from other students violates the Constitution’s equal protection guarantees. In addition to illegally barring McMillen and her girlfriend from attending the prom together, the ACLU said that the school further violated McMillen’s free expression rights by telling her that she can’t wear a tuxedo to the prom,” according to the press release from the ACLU.

Kristy Bennett, legal director of the ACLU of Mississippi, said: “Prom is supposed to be about all students being able to express themselves, have fun, and make memories that will last the rest of their lives. Constance has a constitutional right to take the person she’s dating to the prom, just like any other student at any other public school.”

—  admin