A Brief History of Young Queer Women Who Want to Wear Tuxedos to Prom

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By now you’ve probably read all about that high school senior who, despite being an honors student and a credit to Carroll High School (Monroe, LA), seemed like she might be prevented from going to her own prom night. The dilemma? A tuxedo. School principal Patrick Taylor informed Claudetteia Love that should she turn up to the event in the item of clothing that best suited her gender presentation, the school staff would refuse to work, making the event unable to continue.

Claudetteia Love News Star MARGARET CROFTPhoto via Margaret Croft/The News-Star

Love was understandably unhappy about this turn of events, especially given the way that the school had been so vocally proud of her accomplishments up to that point. The story hit the news. And members of the Monroe County Board of Education and the National Center for Lesbian Rights got involved, overturning the principal’s decision by Tuesday. She will be allowed to wear that tuxedo after all.

Did that scenario sound kinda familiar to you?

Well, maybe you were watching the prom episode of Switched At Birth. You know, the one where Bay gets nominated for Prom Queen, and her lesbian friend, Natalie, is informed that neither she nor her date will get to wear a tux to prom. No one is happy about that one. (Well except the key guy who supervises prom each year who inexplicably doesn’t like signing in a school that has Deaf students at its core). The solution? Everyone in the friendship group commits to being their best dapper self, and wears a tux. But it doesn’t go down well at school, and Bay and friends wind up having their own special anti-prom on the outside. They all dance—but it ain’t real prom.

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Or hey, maybe you want a little flashback to the adorable masculine prom-wear worn by these prom kings and queens back in 2010 when they were crowned. (Updates on them, anyone?) That same year, a landmark case was won in Mississippi by the amazingly invincible Constance McMillen after she was told she couldn’t attend her by-then-former high school’s prom with her girlfriend, and wear a tuxedo. Constance got the heft of the ACLU behind her when fighting the case, which no doubt helped with the winning part. And then also went on Ellen, and marshaled NYC Pride Parade and did some other amazing stuff that year, so no biggie really.

21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards

Maybe you’re thinking just a little further back to that Glee Prom-asaurus episode, where #Brittana go to prom together, and it’s totally no big deal. No one really wears a tuxedo, unless you decide to count the tiny shrunken top half of a tux that Britt wears. It’s matched with a giant seafoam tutu of a skirt, so it is really only as much of a nod to tuxedo wearing as that classic of tap cinema, Eleanor Powell, managed in one of her epic dance numbers. Which probably gives it less than half a tick on the tux-troversy meter.

But let’s be real: This is all probably proof that life is frequently better than fiction. Because also, in Love’s case right here in 2015, not only does she get to go to her prom in a tux, a handful of people committed to clothing the masculine-presenting heard the news about Love, and vowed to help. Love is about to get a head-to-toe outfit for prom, custom-made and personally delivered!

Kayce Brown, part of the founding team of GaymerX who create queer-friendly gaming spaces, and launch team for Greyscale Goods, themselves an androgynous customized box styling plan recently funded by this community on Kickstarter, was in the right place to make this happen. And the first step was to get onboard Nik Kacy, of the eponymous footwear line whose own Kickstarter campaign just completed, along with donated shoes to the LA LGBT Youth Center. They will be outfitting Love with some kicks.

Sharpe Suiting was not to be left behind. Themselves also a generous supporter of the LGBT community, they’re committing to supplying the whole tuxedo for Love’s prom.

Love’s reply to this flurry of events is equally excited and anticipatory: “…right now I’m feeling great and I am excited about prom. I really didn’t expect a story to get as big as it got but I’m glad it did. So many people have supported me and it is just a great feeling. It has really shown me the true power of speaking out and standing up for what is right.”

 

 

Yup, definitely better than fiction.

Hey, who knows, maybe we’ll all get lucky and Keira Knightley might happen to be around that neck of the woods, then. So we can finally get those prom kiss photos featuring her that we’ve all been quietly pining for! Although the age difference may prove insurmountable.

 

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