Gay Teens Continue Fighting for Their Right to Party at Prom: Meet Hannah Williams.

PROM, SORT OF:

Remember that time Constance McMillen wanted to take her girlfriend to prom and her school said no? Probably because we wrote about it 150 times and also did that prom gallery thing. Anyhow, it’s happened again. This time, Hannah Williams, a 16-year-old at Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School in Australia, was told by a teacher that she couldn’t bring her girlfriend, Savannah Supski, 15, to the school ball, but was told to bring a boy instead.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Williams said, “‘It made me very upset. I thought it was unfair so I didn’t go. I put a lot of effort into trying to fix things. I had meetings with principals; looked through the Equal Opportunity Act; all my friends put posters up around the school and the teachers ripped them down. There was an easy solution; they just needed to let me go with my girlfriend.”

In September, Williams’ father lodged a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission, saying the school has discriminated against his daughter who doesn’t, as the school keeps suggesting, want to go to an event where she “can meet boys in a social scenario.”

According to the SMH, the school principle, Heather Schnagl, said the event was not discriminatory: “I don’t think it’s appropriate they feel discriminated against, and I’m very upset they feel that. If we opened it up and said girls could bring another female they would all bring females; the policy is trying to create an event where boys are invited. We are a school that has an all-girls environment, and they are meant to invite guests, not partners.”

Now, both Williams and Supski have changed schools (Williams was pleased to find a “more accepting” government school, and Supski has transferred to be with her), with the support of their parents. (@advocate)

OBAMA:

Obama spent three years in Jakarta, Indonesia when he was growing up, and visited again yesterday after rescheduling a planned trip three times. Aside from revelations about the young “Barry” being remembered by neighbours as the “boy who runs like a duck,” and for his nanny:

His nanny was an openly gay man who, in keeping with Indonesia’s relaxed attitudes toward homosexuality, carried on an affair with a local butcher, longtime residents said. The nanny later joined a group of transvestites called Fantastic Dolls, who, like the many transvestites who remain fixtures of Jakarta’s streetscape, entertained people by dancing and playing volleyball.”

(@nytimes)

ARRESTED:

New York Senator Tom Duane was arrested yesterday evening at a protest at city hall meant to draw attention to a housing bill that would have ensured that those living with HIV/AIDS would not have to spend more than 30 per cent of their total income on rent. Duane, who is openly gay and HIV+, helped the heads of several AIDS organizations hold up traffic for over ten minutes before being arrested by waiting police. (@joemygod)

LESBIAN MOMS:

A new study from UCLA found that none of the 78 adolescents raised in two-Mom households reported any physical or sexual abuse. In contrast, 26% of American adolescents report caregiver physical abuse and 8.3% report sexual abuse.

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Carolyn is the NSFW Editor for Autostraddle.com. She is also a freelance copy editor and writer, and her work has appeared in Bitch, The Toast, Xtra!, Jezebel, and other places. Find her on twitter.

Carolyn has written 417 articles for us.

27 Comments

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    I happen to be from Melbourne and went to a school in the same association as Ivanhoe (Anglican, all girls, private) playing sport against them and having friends from there. This story is not uncommon throughout private all girls school in Melbourne unfortunately, I know the same thing was said at my school, male partners only. At the time I was so far in the closet there is no way I would have dared bring a girl as a date anyway (not the most gay loving place). I am really proud these girls are standing up and taking it to Ivanhoe. Homophobia in rife throughout school administrations at these types of schools (private, non governmental) from what I have experienced and others have told me. I just hope it effects change and causes some attitude and policy changes and I applaud these girls in being so brave and standing up!

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      I went to a Catholic girls school in Canberra and we have the same reason: it’s a place to meet boys. Sorry but wtf. I wanted to fight it but realized it was a Catholic school and I had no chance. I didn’t even have a girlfriend at the time. I just wanted those who did to have the right to take their girlfriend.

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      I go to an Anglican girls’ school in Australia, and my formal is coming up, AND I AM FREAKING OUT, YOU GUYS.

      My school hasn’t said that we can’t bring girls, and my gf and I are in the same year, but I’m sososososososo scared of being kicked out or told we can’t dance or having the school ring our parents because they think we’re being inappropriate or something.

      I don’t think that’ll happen, since my school’s pretty intolerant of intolerance, buuuut….
      This has not made me feel much better.

      /closestssuck
      /I’mprettysuremygirlfriendisgoingtoreadthis

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        Little lesbian on the right’s hair and glasses. So adorable. And their matching gingham uniforms. Can’t handle it.

        I took a girlfriend to senior prom. My advice: just go. Don’t ask anyone for permission. Just buy two singles tickets and go. Dance together and dance with other people and have a good time. Maybe that isn’t feasible at some places, but it worked for me.

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        I agree with Chrissy about just going for it, and not asking permission. At my formal, girls took girls and boys took boys and no-one was kicked out, no-one even really spoke about it at all. And that was back in 2001. I like to hope that Ivanhoe is an exception, that there are other Australian Anglican schools out there that are just as tolerant as mine was.

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    Once I was on my phone at a starbucks talking to my friend about going to a gay bar and when I got off the phone the guy sitting at the next table leaned over to me and said “you know, you’re not going to meet any GUYS at a gay bar” …

    true story.

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    It warms my heart that Hannah Williams’ father filed a complaint on his daughter’s behalf. What a parent.

    I went to an Australian Anglican private school, like Ivanhoe. Mine was fine with same sex couples attending the formal (prom) / existing in the school community. Ivanhoe needs to stop making excuses and catch up to its counterparts.

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    Guys never read the comments (except on Autostraddle). I read some on the ABC website that made me want to rampage, destroy Tokyo, etc.

    My favourite part of this whole thing is straight people trying to tell us when we can feel offended. UM OKAY.

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      You are so right, reading comments on anything bar AS and sometimes Afterellen is a sure way to raise the blood pressure and make you hate the world for it’s idiocy in general! Youtube is one of the worst, no matter what the video is about there’s always someone who takes time out of their day to call someone a faggot for having a differing opinion etc, it’s depressing, everyone is super brave behind their keyboard I suppose. Oh, and dont destroy Tokyo, at least not until ive visted there, thanks in advance! :-D

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    I actually attend Ivanhoe girls; I’m in Hannah’s year. I can promise you, before the event Principal Schagel’s policies did not actually exist. The principal along with the head of year 11 can be quite commanding and terrifying to a 16 year old girl. They are the reason girls in the year are afraid to come out, or ask for advice.

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      Send a big FUCK YOU to Principal Schagel from me. Tell the 16-year-old girls that she and the head of year 11 are silly, overgrown children who were never able to take charge of anything real, so they set themselves up as mini tyrants in a small, tightly regulated environment that is completely sealed off from the real world, and is totally outside of the public purview. The principal isn’t upset that the kids feel discriminated against, she’s upset that she is being called to task on her bullshit. Screw her. Though I will grant that she made one very insightful comment:

      “If we opened it up and said girls could bring another female they would all bring females. . . ”

      DAMN RIGHT BITCH :D

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        >>The principal isn’t upset that the kids feel discriminated against, she’s upset that she is being called to task on her bullshit.>>

        This. It’s written all over her bullshit “statement.” Only no one in the media can see it because it’s between the lines. -_-

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      I attended Ivanhoe Girls’ and even went to the discussion forum where Schnagl continued to spin shit about the Ivanhoe school policy.
      Perhaps, no, there’s nothing in the school prospectus explicitly stating anything anti-homophobic, yet while I was there, I swear they were breeding girls to become rich, pampered housewives.
      The biggest calamity of my school year was our school captain breaking up with her boyfriend, thereby not having a partner to take to the formal.
      Saddening.

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      Yeah, Indonesia is pretty interesting, but not quite that open about homosexuality actually, though a few things are very accepted as they are part of pre-muslim tradition.
      Those transvestites are called “waria” which is a portmanteau from WAnita(woman and pRIA (man).
      They as well as banci ( gays) are all over the entertainment industry, on TV you’ll be surprised to see a lot of very “gay” antics and transvesites. Lesbians not so much. and somehow although “tomboi” is kind of a term for lesbians it is even assumed that girls who are a bit boyish still are probs straight.

      Here, enjoy a little lesbian song ( called “Forbidden Love”) I was extremly surprised to be a great hit, but then the band always affirmed they just liked “playing it” and totally love boys. Also , does nobody else think the father(?) in this video is extremely creepy?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnAesMAHVyU

      (THe refrain translated loosely:
      God give me another life, once again, just so that i can be with her/him, I love her/him, truly love her/him, this feeling really isn’t natural, in that i always want to be with her/him, forever.
      ( they only have one 3rd person pronoun in Indonesian that doesn’t give gender away)

      Just on a personal side note: I had NEVER done anything homosexy BEFORE I had lived in Indonesia, in my theory the whole gender segregating that comes with a very Muslim society is very conducive to that. And in that way it seems SILENTLY accepted, as long as you get your act together at some point and get married anyways.

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    “I don’t think it’s appropriate they feel discriminated against, and I’m very upset they feel that.”

    Whaaa? How lower can it get? She’s upset they feel discriminated against? Not only don’t they have equal rights, but they can’t even be sad about it? Someone needs to get a compassion chip or something

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      I love the statement “feel discriminated against.”

      Feel? Right. Because they aren’t really being discriminated against. They’re just overly sensitive, unruly urchins who are a product of modern moral decay.

      It’s none of her business what the kids do with their social lives. Meet boys, not meet boys.. who gives a fuck? Butt out.

      Again, this lady strikes me as the control freak type who cannot manage life in the real world, so she goes into this petri dish environment where she can manipulate and control to her heart’s content. Gay people out in daily life would ignore her silly ass or not tolerate her nonsense, but the kids are captive prisoners.

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    Maybe it isn’t surprising that we aren’t allowed to be upset anymore. All these homophobic assholes already want to be in control of our feelings by telling us we can’t/shouldn’t be gay. I think this is just an extension.

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    I don’t know if it’s just Australia, but the ability of private schools to do shit like this without any sort of regulation seems a bit ridic. Obviously.
    Having said that I just graduated from an all-girls school in Melbourne and bringing girls to formal is a complete non-issue…
    Encouragingly (?) there was a poll about same-sex couples at high school formals in the same newspaper that reported this and 80% were in favour.
    I gather most of the remaining one-fifth are the little dictators like Dr Schagel
    …who can shove it up their tits

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    “If we opened it up and said girls could bring another female they would all bring females”

    waht O_o

    i’m intrigued by this, what do we think it means?

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    I went to a private Anglican girls’ school in Sydney, and there was no problem with bringing a girl to the formal. I went to a pretty awesome school, though. If you are worried, do what Chrissy said and buy two single tickets and just go.

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    I just don’t understand the whole school dance thing.

    When I was in Jr High and High school, each student was allowed to sign in one guest to the dance – male, female, whatever. Most people just invited friends from other schools, but the school had no way of knowing (and didn’t care) whether your guest was a friend or a date.

    Even for prom.Most of my friends didn’t take dates, we just went together as a group. For the “graduates walk”, where we had to walk in, hand-in-hand, two-by-two, lots of girls walked in together. No problem.

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