Gay student who was barred from prom denied compensation

Ramsey DeHani July 31, 2009
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A gay student who was denied entry to his prom for wearing a dress has been denied reimbursement for the money he spent.

The student, known only as ‘Jeremy’, was turned away from his senior prom in May when he showed up in a dress at the George Washington high school in Guam where he was studying.

Guam is a US territory situated in the western Pacific ocean, close to Japan.

Jeremy, who reportedly identifies as gay rather than trans, told KUAM News he felt discriminated against by school officials.

“I said, ‘Where does it state in this rule in this paper that there’s no cross-dressing, no individualism and no opposite genders? It doesn’t say anything’. And that’s wrong,” he said.

The student is said to have spent over $400 on clothes, shoes and makeup for the prom, which he says all went to waste because he wasn’t allowed to attend.

Recently, Jeremy met with school officials about the matter to demand a refund on his ticket and on the items he purchased for the event, as well as a public apology. While he was refunded for his ticket, the school refuses to refund the items purchased or to apologise.

Begona Flores, principal of George Washington high school, said: “There’s no need to make a public apology, because we weren’t the ones that put it out in the public. He was the one that did so. There’s no need for a public apology from any of us, according to legal counsel.”

She added: “He knew the attire. This is for male, this is for female. And he made the conscious decision to buy something else. So why should we be responsible? You cannot pick and chose when you want to be. You want to be this, then not this time. When you start picking and choosing, there’s no consistency here. And so we cannot blame other people because when I see Jeremy here, he’s a boy.”

Jeremy has apparently dressed in male clothing and expressed his gender as male while in school, so school personnel say they were not unreasonably surprised when he arrived at the prom in a gown.

Flores insists that it is the decision of the Department of Education and the Guam Education Policy Board to come up with any trans policies to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

But she added: “I am not going to personally put myself in that position [of drafting a policy] because I don’t believe in it. I don’t believe in it because I have my own [personal] beliefs and I am not going to deviate from them.”

Jeremy has said that all he wants is fairness in the system, to ensure all people are treated the same and not differently because of their sexuality.

Homosexuality was decriminalised in Guam in 1979 and the country also has laws in place banning all discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. The island’s legislature is currently embroiled in a debate over whether to allow same-sex civil unions.

More: Americas

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