When I set to write my post last night on Constance McMillen in order to distinguish my view of the situation from the perspective Nick offered, I did so with the sense that the young woman had done nothing wrong. I confirmed that “sense” when I read various articles (and opinion pieces) on the whole hullabaloo.
She didn’t do anything wrong.
The worst that she can be accused of is poor taste — and being a teenager. But, even the great hero Beowulf acknowledged impetuous behavior when he was a youth. As to her poor taste, women just don’t look good in tuxes; and she wanted to wear one to her prom. But, then again, men look terrible in lime green tuxes and how many high school seniors have worn just such an outfit to theirs?
As to her accepting invitations to appear at various gay functions, well, we may not like the groups sponsoring those functions, but, well, she is a teenager. And what teenager, in this culture, wouldn’t jump at the chance to become a sudden celebrity?
The real issue here is that some wish to use this situation to show a society where gay teens have it pretty rough. And, to be sure, while things have greatly improved for gay people over the years, it’s always going to be difficult to be different, particularly in a high school environment where there’s so much pressure to conform. But, we shouldn’t let the poor treatment this young woman suffered blind us to the improved situation for gay teens at high schools across the country, many of which allow students to bring same-sex dates to their high school’s spring formal.