1. AlannaHart
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    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    Gay Prom

    Discussion in 'Research' started by AlannaHart, Mar 27, 2015.

    Hi there,

    I'm reaching out to Americans right now because I tried to look into this question but it's hard to get clear facts. Are there many states in the USA that might not allow high school students to take gay dates to prom? Is this sort of thing still a big issue in many states? If so, which ones?
    If you saw this issue come up in a story would you just not question it because it's a common sort of controversy, or would you say 'Ok, this must be set in Blahblah state,' because most aren't that backward?

    Thanks for any help :)
     
  2. Void
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    Void Contributing Member

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    I would be very surprised if their weren't any states where this would be a big deal. I'm not so sure about having an official policy forbidding it, but there would certainly be significant controversy over it.
     
  3. kfmiller
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    kfmiller Active Member

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    First of all, I read the title of this thread completely wrong. Oh prooom,

    This is an issue in several midwest states right now (shocker), but I think it would be getting into grayer territory to say every state. Then there may be states with pockets or towns that are affected by this and other towns in the same state that aren't.

    No, I don't think anyone would question it happening if you put it in your story. Is your story set in a certain state and you're worried it doesn't happen there and readers might say, hey wait up that's not true! or are you not specifying an exact setting and worried people will assume it's state a or state b because of it?
     
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  4. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I would guess it's a locality thing rather than by state. Here in Michigan, there are places where no one would even notice, and places where the controversy would make the front page of the paper.
     
  5. AlannaHart
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    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    @kfmiller I must confess, I might have done that on purpose to attract attention :p

    No, it's not set in any particular place so that's not the issue. I just thought it might have been an issue that had already been resolved for the majority of high schools in the US, so if I mentioned it people might think 'Oh, this is set in one of those rare, backward places'. I want to keep the location very vague, so your comment helps a lot.

    @Void I see. Thank you.

    And @stevesh cheers, that helps.
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    These days American readers would be much more likely to think, "Oh, that school must be private and affiliated."
     
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  7. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Probably a rural/urban divide on this one, too. I'm not saying there are NO liberal rural areas in the states and I certainly couldn't say there are no conservative cities, but in general I think the kids would have more trouble in a rural area.
     
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  8. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    Yup, that's kind of where I was going. In Ann Arbor, the homecoming king and queen could easily be a gay couple. In the mostly-rural small towns where I grew up, not so much, even these days.
     
  9. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    At my school in Illinois, girls went with girls and guys went with guys all the time -- as friends. There was no way for the school to prove if they were going as "dates" or friends, so they always allowed it to happen. It was never a big deal. Now, whether or not they let gay couples dance, I wouldn't know. There were very few openly gay folks at my school at the time.
     
  10. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think there are any formal legal regulations against that in any state - and honestly I'd be very, very surprised if public schools in any state weren't technically subject to non-discrimination laws in that regard (especially because there are likely to be National-level regulations involved). That doesn't mean there aren't places where it wouldn't be socially acceptable and therefore avoided - but that's different from it being disallowed by the government.

    Private schools, on the other hand, can allow or disallow what they want - and that happens in every state, because you're talking case-by-case implementation. Even if you're in an extremely socially liberal area, the local private religious schools are free to enforce their own codes of conduct within their institutions

    I'd suggest not stereotyping ANY U.S. state. As a resident of this country who has lived in places that people from outside the US (or from bigger cities IN the US) consider "backward" - that's a really stereotypical and unfair view of any place. And now that I live in one of those big "cosmopolitan, forward thinking" cities, I find myself regularly wanting to bite people's heads off because of the ridiculous stereotypes they apply to places like the one where I grew up. Wherever your setting is, ESPECIALLY if it's, say, rural Alabama or somewhere people think is "rednecky", you have to really dig into what makes the local culture tick, the goods and the bads, and paint the people there as complete, whole, generally decent people who behave the way they do for a reason.
     
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  11. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    By the way, if you want to dig into the culture of rural America - I really recommend every episode of Anthony Bourdainwhere he goes to the American South or West (the one he did in where he went to Texas and hung out with some people who are really into gun culture was very well done). Also the stuff he's WRITTEN on those regions is, I think, a very tasteful guide to those places for people who haven't been there...mostly because he, as a New Yorker, needs to treat those cultures with the same respect he would treat a foreign country, because he understands that America is not a unified culture and that someone from New York understands rural Texas about as much as they understand Papua New Guinea.
     
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  12. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    This would be almost more likely than not in most of our southern states. South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Texas would all be very likely to have this happen and I know at least one of those states has been in the news for this exact issue (outlawing a gay prom or not allowing same sex couples at prom) in the last couple years. Other states where it would be likely would be Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Indiana, and West Virginia.

    Sadly, though, it actually could happen in any state, even the most liberal of them.
     
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  13. AlannaHart
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    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    I wasn't stereotyping, I was saying that I'm worried others might. That was kind of my point. I want to avoid that.
    But thanks for your info! Very helpful :)
     
  14. Boger
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    Boger Contributing Member

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    Being from Europe, I only know such terms from popular movies, particularly those set in "high school". 'Grease' isn't one of my favorites; I only discovered that one movie after people really were dumbfounded I didn't understand their references. But 'American Pie' set great examples for me I knew I would never achieve (since I don't even live on the same continent to see where the hype originates from after all). And why I seen those movies is probably due to being a pubescent teen when it was still cool to have access to nudity.

    The popular culture that comes from the United States do not predict life there in any way; I'm not as shocked anymore as I used to be when I learned there are people who live with very close minded, prude and rigid standards there. Your question also sparks my curiosity; even when I'm not directly involved with the affairs. Having seen the 80's Grease you might expect acceptance for the LGBT community by now, but the USA is not a small, united enough community at all, a widespread collective celebration of the mainstream culture isn't going to happen at all (or anywhere else for that matter; it's a realization that comes with growing up). What I see is just a glimpse of it; I'm quite happy for being European (American culture is confusing enough from a safe distance already). The world is as globalized as people accept it to be.

    'Prom', outside the whole drama (as seen in the movies) surrounding it, is a tradition I'm glad it's something I'm familiar with. Where I live every high school has annual parties where similar events take place, but even if you'd have high expectations of it, people generally tend to forget what happened that night the day after (because there will be enough parties besides "prom night"). We don't call it prom night: just "school party". The best name in my opinion because you know only people from your school will be allowed there (and if you play it right: also the cool people from different schools). So there isn't much more to those parties people make it to be; which is why it isn't really comparable to the infamous American prom nights where peers worry about their suits and dresses and dates to bring to the night.

    In short, my view of the prom tradition is completely specified by MTV and Hollywood and Comedy Central, so please forgive me for generalizing your culture if you feel I do, because I simply don't know how it REALLY is. Take away the prom out of prom, and talking about large amounts of teenagers from the same school assembled to celebrate and dance (albeit under the influence) during one designated night where it is the collective goal to have a good time; I can totally join the discussion. I've attended numerous nights of the likes; and I think all countries around the world should allow their schools to organize such nights.

    But to be honest, I don't know what the word 'prom' means, and I hardly dare to admit I've missed out on anything during my Western European teens. No need to say gays were being treated the same way teens generally treat them; as if they were proving anything by expressing disapproval towards gays (and the general public knows that gays have nothing to prove and that they are not going to hold back by being judged; which really isolates the rather identifiable selection of people who need to disapprove homosexuality). There are designated places where homosexuals meet and can express freely, and I can't really imagine anyone is disappointed by that, even though being publicly gay often meets many different forms of disapproval. That's something else, and like any form of oppression of minorities should belong to the past.

    Come to think of it, I've been to a gay bar once and I highly doubt minors are allowed and appreciated there by the common visitors; even if the house rules allow for it. Disregarding the differences, a lot of the things that happen in the USA happens in other countries for the same reasons; so the fault does not necessarily lie in your continental descent.
     
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  15. AlannaHart
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    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    Fab! That's great info.
     

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