The Weekly Geek: The High School Prom

Geeks, I’m going to take a break writing about Star Trek (even though Friday marks the 25th anniversary of The Next Generation – check out Wired for a nice retrospective), and talk about a subject far more fraught: the high school prom. See, The Mary Sue is reporting that a high school girl named Whitney Knopp – who was pranked by being voted to “prom court” by the mean, supposedly popular kids at Ogemaw Heights High School as a joke – has recently enjoyed the support of businesses all over her town. From the post:

Kropp’s still going to homecoming, and now she’s doing it with shoes, a limo, a dress and more provided by local businesses after the small town of West Branch, Michigan rallied around the teen. The Support Whitney Kropp Facebook page has amassed over 88,000 likes in a matter of days, and the publicity surrounding the prank and community response has led to increased conversation about “innocent” high school pranks.

So that’s great, right? At least folks are talking about the problem, and this young lady will be riding in style.

I couldn’t help but think about the not-so-long-ago story of Constance McMillen, the young lesbian who was barred from going to her own prom with her girlfriend in 2010. The kids – and teachers – at her school were a bunch of petty, homophobic jackasses as well, but Constance received national support for her plight.

McMillen at the 2010 New York City Gay Pride March

If you’re queer, and you’re a total geek, it’s likely that you had a rough time in high school, thanks to the double whammy effect. It seems to be about the only place in America where “geek chic” hasn’t caught on yet, and dorky kids have historically had difficulties. Just ask Anthony Michael Hall’s character in The Breakfast Club.

High school is a topic that I strongly suspect most queer folks – and geeks – and particularly queer geeks – have a lot of feelings about. Feelings that involve revenge fantasies, mixed thoughts about Glee, and possibly a crush on a cast member or three from Empire Records.

In any event, know this, Whitney Kropp’s of the world – high school is a temporary affliction. Props to all of the businesses and friends who are supporting her, and using the power of Facebook for good.

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