Prom is an exciting time for just about every teenager, including those who are in same-sex relationships. For 17-year-old Paula Goodgame and her girlfriend, Anjali Persad, who have been dating for about four months, planning for prom was exactly the same experience as those of heterosexual teenagers: They chose their outfits, made plans, and were looking forward to spending the evening together as a date.
Unfortunately, Goodgame learned via an email from her school's guidance counselor that she was not permitted to bring a same-sex date to the prom. Per the school's guidelines, it does specify that "escorts must be of the opposite gender," but for students in same-sex relationships, this can feel like an isolating, invalidating rule to follow.
Paula, a student from St. Petersburg Catholic High School, originally emailed a teacher to clarify if she could bring her girlfriend as her date. When she didn't get a response, she reached out to the guidance counselor, who informed her of the above policy.
Obviously, people on Twitter were pissed.
Others wanted to start an email campaign and bombard the school's principal.
Others pointed out that because she attends a Catholic school, they may not be subject to district regulations.
If a school doesn't receive any state funding, then there probably isn't a way to rebut the rule.
But others are offering advice saying that they should be able to go together.
Some made a good point regarding same-sex relationships too, pointing to Pope Francis as inspiration.
Regardless of the legality of the ruling, people were still furious.
Given that LGBTQ youth suffer from higher rates of depression, anxiety, and bullying than their heterosexual and cisgender peers, being told that they can't be true to themselves even during a social activity, like the prom, can be especially devastating for their self-esteem.
Hopefully, the girls will be able to attend prom together, and the attention on this situation will help more schools to adjust their policies to be more inclusive and welcoming for all students.