JACKSON, Miss. — High school officials are pressuring an openly lesbian senior to drop the tuxedo or not receive her senior picture.
Although no rule was found in the student handbook, school officials insist Ceara Sturgis wears a dress for her picture. Sturgis said she wishes to use the senior photo she gave the school where she’s in a tuxedo.
“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,” the 17-year-old honor student, trumpet player and high school soccer goalie said in a statement.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi is now preparing for a lawsuit if Sturgis’ high school doesn’t respond by Oct. 23, said Kristy Bennett, the ACLU’s legal director.
Sturgis’ mother, Veronica Rodriguez, said school officials are forcing her daughter — who doesn’t own a dress — to be more feminine.
“The tux is who she is. She wears boys’ clothes. She’s athletic. She’s gay. She’s not feminine,” Rodriguez said during an interview Thursday at the ACLU office.
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— Simon Husted