Logan, who attended school in women’s clothing all school year,
considering filing discrimination lawsuit against the school
GARY, Ind. A male high school student who has worn women’s clothes to school all year was turned away from his prom because he was wearing a dress.
Kevin Logan, 18, arrived May 19 at Avalon Manor in Hobart for the West Side High School prom wearing a slinky fuchsia prom dress and heels but was not allowed inside. He believes officials discriminated against him.
“I have no formal pictures, no memories, nothing. You only have one prom,” he said.
Logan, who is gay, is considering filing a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and possible litigation.
Sylvester Rowan, assistant to Gary Schools Superintendent Mary Steele, said the decision to exclude Logan was based on “the dress code, not the student’s homosexuality. That’s his personal preference.”
Rowan said it is school policy that males can’t wear dresses.
Ken Falk, the ACLU of Indiana legal director, said Logan’s First Amendment rights were violated. In 1999, Falk helped an Indianapolis male teen win a court battle to wear a dress to prom.
“All students have First Amendment rights of freedom of expression. Those rights can be overcome for the legitimate needs of the school. For example, you can’t protest. That runs the risk of disrupting instruction,” Falk said. “But the court found at a prom, those risks are lessened. It’s not a scholastic activity.”
Logan said he had spent years defining and exploring his sexuality. This year, he took a major step toward self-identity by dressing as a female every day.
“Last year, I could not be myself,” he said.
He said this year he wore makeup, a hair weave, nails and girls’ fitted jeans to school.
Logan received an $85 refund for his prom ticket on Tuesday but was not satisfied.
His mother, Donnetta Logan, said she was not surprised by what she called the ignorance of school administrators.
“I tell Kevin that in society there will be those who accept him and those who won’t.”
Tyrone Hanley, the youth program coordinator for the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition in Washington, D.C., said he sees cases like this often at high schools and colleges. He called it gender-based discrimination.”
“Prohibiting really short skirts for everyone is a fair dress code; prohibiting them for males is not,” he said.
West Side students said a girl was allowed to attend the prom in a tuxedo.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 26, 2006.