A Courageous Lesbian High School Student Wins the Right to Choose Her Own Clothing
Ceara Sturgis and her Mom, Veronica Rodriguez
Most political conservatives will passionately argue that any government involvement in the free-enterprise system is unethical and always counter-productive. Most progressives would argue that government efforts to regulate social policy is tantamount to legislating morality and religious doctrine.
Americans are certainly no strangers to the efforts of social conservatives to place restrictions on the civil liberties of lesbian, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) people. “Different,” is not acceptable in some religious and politically conservative communities. Be as creative as you want to be in starting up a new business, but don’t you dare differ from the social norms of a community. Ironically, those “social norms” are more times than not defined by the less sophisticated reactionaries who have to are always ready to hide behind God and the Bible to defend what is ultimately, their personal preferences.
Case in point, the Copiah Country School District in Mississippi was none too happy with the clothing one student selected for her high school graduation picture. Ceara Sturgis, is a senior and a lesbian attending the Wesson Attendance Center. Rather than pose for her senior portrait wearing the traditional “drape” that other girls wear, Ceara took her senior photo wearing a tuxedo.
The school district refused to publish her picture in the school’s yearbook. When Ceara’s Mom, Veronica Rodriguez, opened up the yearbook and realized her daughters name and photo had been excluded, she did what most loving, supportive parents would do: She got mad: Rodriguez has had enough of her neighbors and school authorities making bigoted value judgements about a good kid whose only fault is not fitting in their cookie-cutter definition of “normal.”
With the support of her Mom and the Mississippi ACLU chapter, Ceara sued the school district and won! Joshua Block, an attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT Project noted, “No student should ever be excluded from important rites of passage just for being who they are.”
The good news is that not only will Ceara’s photo of her wearing a tuxedo be hung in the library, but the judge who presided over the case ordered the school district to revise its conservative dress-code for senior photographs.
The facebook page, Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook, got thousands of people involved over an 8 month period, to try and draw as much media attention to this case as possible.
Chalk up another big victory against bigotry, intolerance and those who arrogantly demand that the whole world not upset them by behaving, dressing, loving or simply being different in any way, from them. The one exception to that mentality is of course, be as creative, daring and aggressive as necessary in the cause of making money.
Bravo Ceara! You are most definitely a heroine for all of us engaged in the battle to secure freedom and equality for all Americans.