The quote above is from Veronica Rodriquez of Jackson, Miss., referring to her 17-year old daughter, Ceara Sturgis, whose high school will not allow her graduation picture to appear in its yearbook because she was photographed wearing a tuxedo.
She is an honor student, trumpet player and goalie on the school's soccer team. Sturgis said she should get to decide how she looks in the senior photo.
"I feel like I'm not important, that the school is dismissing who I am as a gay student and that they don't even care about me. All I want is to be able to be me, and to be included in the yearbook," Sturgis said in a statement.
Veronica Rodriguez, 47, said school officials are trying to force her daughter – who doesn't even own a dress – to appear more feminine.
"The tux is who she is. She wears boys' clothes. She's athletic. She's gay. She's not feminine," said Rodriguez during an interview Thursday at the ACLU office, which has issued a demand letter to Principal Ronald Greer to publish the picture of Sturgis in the tuxedo. The ACLU says it's giving the school until Oct. 23 to respond before pursuing court action, said Kristy L. Bennett, the ACLU's legal director.
You can read more of the story here. I haven't been able to find the outcome of the situation, but I will be following the story.
I know. In the grand scheme of things, given all that's happening in our private lives, in our communities, in this country and in the world, it seems an insignificant case.
But, you know, in the grand scheme of things, it's these stories of personal liberty that are foundational to our lives together.
I don't really care who you are or who you think you are or where your politics are on the broad spectrum of positions or posture. This is not about religious creed or ethnicity or nationality, but it does strike at the heart of "liberty and justice for all."
I don't care how uncomfortable "drag" makes you feel - male or female. As my dear friend, the Large and Lovely Beula Lamont, now numbered among the Saints, once said to me, "Honey, we're all born naked. Everything after that is all drag."
Ceara's case raises, yet again, the complexity of gender roles and perceptions and expectations. Hers is one more brick in the Wall of Sexism and Misogyny which is being dismantled by the truth of that complexity.
We've got a long way to go before we achieve the foundational ideal of "liberty and justice for all." Ceara's courage helps us take one more step on the path, as a nation, to being "a more perfect union."
Today's "Story of the Day" from StoryPeople, one of my favorite blogs is this:
I don't wear stuff to impress"All I want is to be able to be me," Ceara said.
people, she said.
I can't afford it yet.
Isn't that what any one of us wants, really?
Seems to me that Ceara is paying a very high price to wear a tuxedo in her graduation picture, not to impress, but to be authentic.
That's a price which all of us help her need to afford.
Otherwise, we're all broke.