Mainstream news did a reasonable job (for what I’ve come to expect of mainstream news, anyway) of covering the story of Constance McMillen, who wanted to bring her girlfriend to her private high school prom. With the help of the ACLU and a favorable court judgment, McMillen won the skirmish, but she and her classmates lost the game when the school cancelled the prom.
Dan Savage points out that McMillen’s was neither the first nor the worst issue this year with that private high school. McMillen was another student at the time:
Constance McMillen was also a student. McMilllen clearly recalled [Juin] Baize’s first—and only—day at Itawamba Agricultural.
“People were talking about him all day, trying to get a look at him,” said McMillen. “It was insane, it was ridiculous, it made me so mad. They said he was causing a distraction with what he was wearing but it was a half day of school and people didn’t have time to get used to him.”
The other students wouldn’t be given a chance to get used to him: the next time Baize came to school, according Kristy Bennett, legal director of the ACLU of Mississippi, Baize was given a suspension notice and sent home. When Juin returned to school after his first suspension, he was suspended again.
“Juin’s case was a situation where a transgender student wanted to attend school dressed in feminine clothing,” said Bennett, “and the school district would not even let him attend school.”
The ACLU is not taking this one to court, apparently with the consent or even preference of Juin Baize (who prefers male pronouns at this time, according to Savage). The harassment level made it untenable for Baize to continue to stay in Fulton, Mississippi, and his grandmother sent him to Pensacola, Florida, to stay with friends:
“There’s this thing here called Florida Virtual School,” Juin told me today, “and I’m going to enroll in that online and do that until next year. And from what I’ve heard the high school near here is very accepting. So I’m going to start fresh.”
A Google search on Juin’s name turns up several of my favorite blogs, but not a single mainstream news organization.
Savage has put together a fund to support Baize in his new life. There’s a donation button in Savage’s column, or this link should work directly.
I sent money; if you are able to and so moved, you might want to as well. Juin is one of thousands, but letting any isolated trans kid know that there’s support for their lives out in the big world can’t be a bad thing.
Marlene pointed this one out to me.