Quicklink: high-school formal says no to same-sex couple

via The Amazing Kim (in comments to the previous post);

Lesbian couple banned from attending school ball together

Image Credit: smh.com.au

An Ivanhoe [Girls] Grammar girl wasn’t allowed to take her girlfriend to her high-school formal. The principal says it’s because the girl’s partner was in a different year level, but probably regrets that decision now.

Link here and here.

Categories: culture wars, education, social justice

Tags: ,

18 replies

  1. There was a grad ball in my town a couple of years ago, where two girls wanted to be presented together (not a couple) because there weren’t enough boys to go round. The school told them to take year 10 boys, and it was the girls who objected that it was a year 12 event. It sounds like school admin will latch onto any excuse!

    • What is with this whole presentation-as-half-of-a-couple thing at these events anyway? I’m not talking about people wanting to go to the event with a date – that’s fully understandable and nobody else’s business really. But why can’t any presentations of the graduating class simply focus on the actual students one by one rather than requiring them to rock up with a promenade partner?

  2. tigtog, when I’ve seen it it is a perpetration of social success markings.
    That is, everyone has to bring a date. Less popular or confident people struggle, and so do people who don’t want a date or want a date or companion that breaks the norms of the event (a same gender date, a best friend, a sibling, etc). And that’s typically how the organisers like it: successful people get to show off, unsuccessful or oppressed people get to struggle. Hooray! We have furthered hierarchies!
    It might occasionally be sold as a “helping shy people by force” kind of thing instead, or sometimes “if dates are optional and Penny Popular brings one and Sally Shy doesn’t, then Sally Shy will feel different and lesser, poor thing.”

  3. If I hadn’t been allowed to bring girls I hardly would have gone to school dances, and I’m a heterosexual cis-woman.
    Just also dateless.
    This is truly bizarre. If you cannot find a friend/date of the opposite sex, you must go ALONE and be MISERABLE.

  4. there is no option to “go alone” to these events, you must have a “date”, in this school’s case of the opposite sex, or it’s a no go for you

  5. I was outraged by the Principal’s comment that the girls were not discriminated against and how rude of them to claim it was so. Heteronormative privilege much?

  6. The principal has said both that lots of girls did go alone, but also that it’s meant to be an event about meeting boys. So shouldn’t the solo girls be banned, too, for their failure to find an appropriate male?
    As one of the girls said, everything was made an obstacle for them. But I was pleased to see how strongly their parents supported them, and made it a problem for the school rather than a problem of their daughters.

  7. It’s really heartening to read most of the comments on the article — most people are supporting the girls, and are also quite willing to sit on the few troglodytes who are turning up to talk about “traditional values”.

  8. What Beppie said…for once I was pleased that I’d read the comments after the article.

  9. Stupid school. Smart parents.

    I can only dream my mum would be that supportive of my sexual orientation. Beautiful story, really.

  10. If the occasion was all about “meeting boys” then the school should have taken a leadership role and supplied the boys.
    That way everyone gets a boy and the school gets to select those that it believes are appropriate for “their” girls

  11. A private xtian school for the well to do, imposing the heteronormative values that perpetuate the social order? Who would have thought?

  12. “If you cannot find a friend/date of the opposite sex, you must go ALONE and be MISERABLE. ”
    I assume you are talking about this particular case, but it seemed to be framed in broad terms. Just to clarify, being partnerless does not necessarily correlate with being miserable.

  13. My favourite part was

    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.

    Because if they don’t force the students to be in situations they don’t want to be in, they won’t be in it.
    On ABC Victoria news last night they had A Lesbian (they actually pronounced it like that, as in “Jane Doe, a parent of a student at the school and A Lesbian”) explaining that that the school staff have always treated her family fairly. Which is nice, but not really the issue.

  14. It was very encouraging to see how supportive her parents are (@rexter on twitter is her dad)
    Bryan @ 11 – some schools do that sort of thing. I went to an all-boys school and there were several events over the years where we’d join up with an all-girls school – eg. school camps, musicals, plays, dances etc.

  15. Check out this snowflake in the AGE letters page today. It seems Ivanhoe GG did a great job on her.

    AS A young woman, I appreciate the enforcement of equal rights but Hannah Williams and her family have taken it too far.
    I attended an affluent all-girls school and my year 12 formal was in 2005. Several girls wished to bring their lesbian partners and many heterosexual girls wished to bring older male partners. These girls, just like Miss Williams, were told that the school formal is an opportunity to invite young males to a dinner and dance. It was not about selecting any partner you choose, but rather to create a collective group of young men and women who could enjoy each other’s company in a boy/girl environment.
    I had several friends – one of whom was homosexual – at a nearby male school. He was not allowed to bring his partner to his formal. This decision was not front-page news. This boy accepted the school’s right to make a decision for the majority and his partner met us all at the after-party.
    Schools are not meant to be a place of democracy. While children are encouraged to have input and voice their opinions, the final word rests with the school. This is how the system works.
    Charlotte Ingold, Camberwell

  16. late, but perhaps worth noting that this happened at Ivanhoe Girls Grammar, not Ivanhoe Grammar, a different school.

  17. Thanks for the clarification, Laura. I’ve edited the post.

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