With prom right around the corner, 17-year-old Claudetteia Love, a senior at Carroll High School in Monroe, Louisiana, couldn't wait to get all dressed up and spend the big night with a group of friends.
There was only one problem. The openly gay teen wanted to wear a tuxedo, but she and her family say school principal Patrick Taylor told her staff would refuse to work the prom if girls wore tuxedos.
"That's his exact words. 'Girls wear dresses and boys wear tuxes, and that's the way it is,'" Love's mother, Geraldine Jackson, told local paper The News Star.
"I told my mom, 'They're using me,'" added Love, who's set to attend Jackson State University on a full academic scholarship next year. "'They put me in all these honors and advanced placement classes so I can take all of these tests and get good grades and better the school, but when it's time for me to celebrate the fact that I've accomplished what I need to accomplish and I'm about to graduate, they don't want to let me do it, the way I want to.'"
The decision reportedly didn't sit well with two members of the Monroe County Board of Education. According to the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which stepped in to help make sure Love could wear exactly what she wanted, the board members vowed to reverse the principal's decision.
By Tuesday, Love was informed that she would be allowed to wear a tux after all, NCLR announced.
Messages left by The Huffington Post for Taylor and with the schools superintendent's office were not immediately returned. But in a press release, NCLR's executive director Kate Kendall said she was happy with how quickly the board acted.
"We are pleased to hear that Principal Taylor and the Monroe City School Board corrected this wrong before any serious harm was done," she said. "Forbidding girls from wearing a tuxedo to the prom would have served no purpose other than to reinforce the worst sorts of harmful stereotypes and censor a core part of Claudetteia's identity."
As for Love, she said in a statement released by NCLR that she's looking forward to prom again:
I am thankful that my school is allowing me to be who I am and attend my senior prom in tuxedo. Now that I can go in my tuxedo, I am looking forward to celebrating the end of my senior year with my friends and classmates at the prom, like any other student. 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.
Pretty empowering stuff!
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