Updates on LGBT Heroes June 23, 2010

Updates on LGBT Heroes

A couple stories from the LGBT world.

Constance McMillen, the girl whose school canceled prom rather than allow her to attend with her girlfriend, will appear at the White House today to celebrate LGBT Pride Month.

I hadn’t heard this part of her story before, but it looks like Itawamba County Area High School had a special present for her during graduation:

McMillen will attend a White House reception Tuesday for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens from around the nation in recognition of gay pride month.

The White House confirmed Friday that Obama will host the event and is expected to deliver brief remarks.

After the prom controversy, McMillen said, she faced a hostile environment from her peers and transferred out of her northeast Mississippi school district to a school 200 miles away in Jackson.

She said she broke down in tears at the graduation ceremony.

“I didn’t really want to walk, but I did it for my parents,” she said. “My name wasn’t on the program.”

I’m glad Constance is out of that school. Good riddance to shitty administrators.

Via the ACLU, she is supporting the Student Non-Discrimination Act and asks for your support, too:

You can support it by going here.

Meanwhile, guess who will be the Grand Marshal of the Northwest Arkansas Pride Parade?

It’s my hero, Will Phillips! Will is the 10-year-old boy who refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance because he “really [didn’t] feel that there’s currently liberty and justice for all.”


“It’s wrong for anyone to be treated differently just because of the way they are born,” said Phillips, who declares himself as an ambassador for equal rights.

He will be the parade’s youngest grand marshal ever, but he said age shouldn’t make a difference. “Because I’m a person, I may be 10, but I’m a person,” said Will.

The parade is put on by NMA Pride. They said they are aware Will’s age could be an issue, but he’s no ordinary 10-year-old.

“He’s literally the last half of the year been all over the country and spoken to thousands of people,” said Jay Phillips, Will’s father.

So what were you doing at the age of 10? 🙂

(via Joe. My. God.)

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  • Infinite Monkey

    Wow, I didn’t even know anywhere in AR had Pride parades. I’m not even sure if Little Rock has one.

  • TychaBrahe

    After the prom controversy, McMillen said, she faced a hostile environment from her peers and transferred out of her northeast Mississippi school district to a school 200 miles away in Jackson.


    “I didn’t really want to walk, but I did it for my parents,” she said. “My name wasn’t on the program.”

    I have to admit I don’t understand this. Her name wasn’t on the program for the old school? Why would it be, when she had transferred to a new school?

    I hesitate to give any favorable comment to the crappy school system that treated her so horribly, but I don’t see how they can be blamed for this.

  • When I was ten, I used to get in a lot of trouble for kicking the shit out of boys who treated animals badly. I was once suspended in school rights for breaking two teeth of a guy who, as I’ve put it then, “played torture on a homeless pregnant doggie”. Aaah, good old times… 😀
    Now all I have is helping and supporting local Cat Mommy, a kind of halfway houses for homeless cats. That kind of beliefs tend to stick. I wonder who will Patrick be when he grows up. I’d wish for the next president 😉

  • I think her point was that she was forced to transfer so close to graduation that the new school couldn’t really include her properly in graduation. Thus her name not being on the program, no friends to graduate with, etc. I DO blame that on her original highschool, they acted in a way to make it impossible for her to graduate in her hometown like any normal teenager should expect to be able to do.

  • Judith Bandsma


    And to think her old school objected to her coming to the prom in a tux.

  • VXbinaca

    When did this become an LGBT blog? I’m not gay but I am an atheist. And theres plenty of gay Christians out there. But I digress…

    So lemme see if I get this straight (no pun intended):

    Obama pretty much stabs everyone who supported him, like the anti-war people like me, in the back, especially the gays by openly stating he doesn’t believe in gay marriage and drags his feet on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and as a consolation prize Constance gets to go to the White House?

    She still can’t get married. If she gets sick her partner has no input in her care and may not even be able to see her in the hospital.

    Wake up people, he doesn’t care about gays or Atheists.

  • Trace

    “So what were you doing at the age of 10?”

    nuthin? 🙁

  • She can come to good ol’ Massachusetts to get married. Unlike the other states that flip-flop on gay marriage, once MA legalized gay marriage, we haven’t looked back. I love this state sometimes.

  • Vene

    VXbinaca, surely you haven’t noticed how interconnected the two communities are, have you?

    Also, the media’s response to this has irked me. Reporting on McMillen is great and all, but there’s been practically no coverage on what the school did earlier and the policy change that caused the issues with McMillen. The school had a transgender student who was suspended for wearing clothing that was “distracting” and later forced to move. That’s what started the whole thing, McMillen’s girlfriend wanted to crossdress and she wanted to do it immediately after the school threw a fit about a trans student. And yet, it’s the homophobia that’s reported on and not the transphobia.

  • I’d like to respond to VXbinaca.

    There is an implicit connection of Atheist and GLBT rights. The Theists who wish to strip Atheists of our political voice are the same ones who are actively repressing the LGBT community.

  • VXbinaca

    Vene, Yes I understand. And I’ve “come out” about my Atheism to a family member, only to have them reject me (sort of). So I know well what it feels like. I must be one of those rare homophobic atheists. But I don’t let that get in the way of equal opportunity.

  • Deiloh

    Yeah for the youngsters! I’ve watched them through various media -very well spoken, good kids.

  • my.totally.original.name

    “What were you doing the age of ten?”

    Helping my brother take care of the house and raise our younger sisters to the best of our abilities, also trying to educate myself.

  • JulietEcho

    When I was ten, I was in a production of “The Sound of Music.” So I was making some pretty public appearances too!

    Seriously, it’ll be a cool memory for Will to have (and maybe the start of some kind of future career) to get to travel around the country like this. People seriously underestimate the preteen (9-12ish) demographic.

  • muggle

    That Will Phillips is so cool! I think I’d do well myself to remember his advice on how to handle the haters. Smile and wave and let them look like the lunatics. (Okay, I know he didn’t say that but it will.) But beyond that, live and be happy. Now to find the patience this kid 1/5th my age has!

  • Claudia

    Will Phillips is by far the coolest 10 year old I’ve ever seen. I suspect he’s probably at least somewhat gifted. His thoughts and the ability to express himself that he showed in media interviews seemed beyond his years.

    He’s not gay, so his position in GLBT will be as an ally, but I have a sneaking suspicion that if he’s not one of us heathens already (likely) he will be soon enough. A welcome inclusion.

  • Rieux

    I think Noadi is pretty clearly correct. You misunderstood, Hemant.

  • Jen

    When did this become an LGBT blog? I’m not gay but I am an atheist. And theres plenty of gay Christians out there. But I digress…

    Yeah Hemant! Those queer atheists? Fuck ’em. Those atheist lgbtq allies? Fuck ’em. Let’s cater to those homophobic atheists. Because nothing says “Friendly” like catering to hate.

    But I don’t let that get in the way of equal opportunity.

    The hell?

    On topic: It is always fantastic to see how young people can change the world. And, I can only imagine how these kids’ stories will help some less strong bullied kids. Reminds me of that scene in Milk with the kid who calls Milk because his parents want to send him to Straightening Out Camp. Knowing someone else is out there, being gay and successful, helps him.

  • Reckless

    Will Phillips is such a great kid. If only we could raise an entire generation with that same mindset and gift for compassion…

  • While I admire Will Phillips testicular fortitude, why is a 10 year old getting involved in such a contentious issue?

    I know it sounds crazy, but maybe we should let kids be kids.

  • staceyjw

    If Constance and her family knew where to go for graduation, there is NO way the school didn’t know too!

    How do I know this?
    Graduations are planned through the SCHOOL. You have to order the cap/gowns from them, get tickets/seating for family members, they arrange everything that goes with it. It’s not like she picked up the cap and gown at the corner store and stormed the stage! The school was deliberately malicious- they would have been aware of her graduation no matter what school she ended up at, as she was the talk of that town.

    What amazes me is this- the school/students/faculty should have been SHAMED into an apology, or an end to the harassment at the very least. There was NATIONWIDE scorn heaped on them for their blatant discrimination- after each event, as their actions were deserving of it.

    But what happened?

    Instead of ending their campaign of harassment in the face of NATIONAL outrage, they stood firm, acting proud of themselves and their despicable backwardness. They never let up, every step of the way the made sure to humiliate, denigrate, and isolate this TEEN with hatred and petty acts.

    The people involved really think their actions were acceptable, and this blows my mind! Even the worst wing-nuts usually take back/attempt to soften/excuse their most hateful statements when called out by enough media. But not the people at this school!

    I think it was because for every GLBT group/band/celebrity etc. that stood up to help Constance, there was another less visible, but just as strong, group/pastor/etc. telling them they were right (because gays = sin = evil). It’s scary to think that an entire school could be so hateful to a young person, and even feel good about persecuting her. What a horrible group of people.

    @ OneSTDV-
    “why not let kids be kids”
    Isn’t childhood just practice for being an adult? It never hurts a kid to have some responsibility or to take action when they want too. If this means he misses out on a few little league games to tour the country and do something special- so what??? He learned early on that he could change things with his actions, and this is a critical lesson in life! GOOD FOR HIM!

  • If this means he misses out on a few little league games to tour the country and do something special- so what??

    Tell that to Gary Coleman (and Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, and any other child star ever).

    Childhood is for being a kid, not for taking on possibly the most controversial political opinion out there. He can learn these lessons without being the face of a movement.

    I write a lot about the so-called “war on childhood” at my blog:



  • AshPlant

    OneSTDV: sounds like you’re just saddling up your personal hobby horse here. You yourself said in one of your posts:
    “These types of initiatives” (ones you don’t approve of) “rely on the premise that each developmental milestone should be motivated instead of occurring autonomously.

    This appears to be Will Phillips’ ‘developmental milestone’; he’s just reached it about ten years before most of us do. And it does seem to be his doing, rather than something his parents forced him into doing.

    You’re a poor kind of hypocrite; using your apparent concern for his wellbeing to try and rationalise stopping him doing anything you don’t think he should be doing. In your description of the ‘war on childhood’ (to which, incidentally, I ascribe no more concerted validity than the ‘war on christmas’ or ‘war on traditional values’) I see echoes of every bigoted viewpoint and repressive act ever – trying to force people, in this case children, into certain predetermined roles, with no room for any activity outside the patterns you have for them in your mind. When you say “letting” children be children, I hear “making”.

  • Valhar2000

    VXbinaca wrote:

    Wake up people, he doesn’t care about gays or Atheists.


    Figured that out all by yourself, did ya?

  • @VXbinaca How can you be homophobic but supportive of equality? That is utter nonsense. You don’t get to pick and choose who gets equality; that is what theists do. In case you missed it, the majority of us are supportive of gay rights. And rightly so: they are people too.

  • Wow. I love this kid. XD Wish I’d accomplished something like that when I was 10, goodness. Congratulations to him! He’s going to do great things.

  • goober1223

    And now I just saw that Cracked (.com) put an article up mentioning Constance. Hilarious stuff, even if they muddle some of the facts.


  • Claudia

    @AshPlant, I can’t for the life of me see where you’re getting the basis for your accusation to OneSTDV from. Absolutely nothing in his comment suggests his lack of support for this has anything to do with his approval for the cause or otherwise. I defy you to show me what in his statement shows that he’d be fine with the kid being active in some other activism that met with his approval. My distinct impression is that its the activism itself, not the content thereof, that he disapproves of. Your case for hypocrisy seems empty to me.

    For the record I disagree with you OneSTDV on this point. I can appreciate the risks involved in too much attention and stardom, but I think this will pass relatively soon. While you may limit a child with too public a life, you can also limit particularly exceptional children, like Will, by insisting that they must live ordinary, totally obscure lives whatever their inclination may be. I also think that there’s a significant difference between a child who decides to become an activist on his own, as Will seems to, and one who is merely employed as a prop by his parents.

  • muggle

    any child star ever?

    Really, how about we check with Jodie Foster, Ron Howard, or Mark Lester? I’d chase down a few more for you but it’s really not worth the trouble.

    Plenty of child stars did quite well and excelled. Others did not.

    You know like kids from every walk of life. In or out of the spot light.

    Frankly, this Will kid has it together and I’m betting he’s more apt to be in category of the three I mention above than the ones you do. Not least of all because he seems to have strong, supportive parents.

  • VXbinaca

    @Not Guilty

    I don’t have to accept someones lifestyle to tolerate the. Shame on your lack of South Park consumption!

  • Dylan

    I am personally at the age of fourteen. When I was ten I was starting to sway from my religion due to the internet. Information tends to have that effect on you. It took me around two years of gathering information in order to reach a consensus that I was indeed an agnostic atheist. My parents are, and were, ‘crazy ass fundie Christians’. They claim the only reason they believe in god was that Jesus came down before them in a vision or something of the like. I found this to be deeply dissatisfying, so during this discussion I explained that I am an agnostic atheist. Being I have balls of steel, I disproved all of their misconceptions about their religion, as I had read the bible three times, and they had not read it at all. To this day they say I will be miraculously saved by Raptor Jebus before I die. Well, if that makes them happy let them be deluded. Future generations will not.

  • Dylan

    I would also like to mention that many people claim that age equals knowledge. My parents and many other people (mainly religious people/conspiracy theorists) use this against me in a debate. I find this to be deluded, and even stupid. To me, it is like saying that all black people have inferior minds, except that age is the modifier. It is quite obvious that black people do not have inferior minds, as they have similar IQ levels as white people do. You may bring up the argument of experience, and I do agree that has a modifier. The thing is, experience does not equal knowledge of a subject. You may claim to have seen Jesus, but it doesn’t mean you have read the bible. I see through the ‘experiences’ of other people via literature (which is knowledge and experience). That is my basis for that argument, as I am not living through the experiences of one person, but many. I obviously have holes in my arguments and thoughts, but I allow people to throw in their experiences so I can form a new consensus. This will happen throughout my life, until the day I die. And I am happy to know that, as I cannot stand knowing everything.

    P.P.S. I don’t like people deciding my future, damn government!

  • Dylan

    Oh yeah, I’m new to the site an I just realized the title logo is able to be viewed up and down. Much like in the book ‘Angels and Demons’.

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