Constance McMillen, whose school barred her from bringing a female date to the prom, says when she heard about the suicides of gay teens Seth Walsh and Tyler Clementi, "I was so upset about this that I could not sleep."
In an interview with the AP, McMillen also stressed the importance of family support for gay teens, saying, "the family's acceptance is 100 times more important than people they go to school with. Whenever their family doesn't accept them, they feel like nobody's going to." McMillen's family has been supportive throughout her high-profile case — back in March, her grandma said,
I've always told my children, you are no better than anyone else. But you are just as good as anyone else. I raised them to stand up for what they believe in and not for being something they are not. I love them unconditionally. I'll always stand behind them. There's nothing you can do so I'd turn my back on you.
It was the administrators at her school who seemed to lack human decency — according to the AP, McMillen "wasn't bullied until school officials canceled the prom rather than allow McMillen and her girlfriend to attend as a couple." So instead of fighting against bullying, her school basically incited it. It's sad that schools needed a "wake-up call" to protect the rights of LGBTQ students, but now that the suicides of young people like Walsh and Clementi have captured public attention, maybe McMillen's school district and everyone else will realize that supporting bullying is basically devaluing kids' lives.
Related: Lesbian Teen Fights for Prom [Jackson Free Press]