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Indiana High School Plays Fashion Police

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Mar 12, 2009 8:40PM

Still image from Mean Girls/Paramount
A 17-year-old girl is suing her high school in Lebanon, Indiana because they refused to let her wear a tuxedo to her high school prom. The student says she is a lesbian and doesn't wear dresses because they represent a sexual identity she rejects. The principal at the high school, located northwest of Indianapolis, claims that there is a special dress code for the prom that requires female students to wear a formal gown, but the ACLU of Indiana--which filed the claim on her behalf--say that the policy violates federal law because the school receives federal funding and because it violates her right of expression.

This is not the first time this has come up in Indiana. Last year a gay male student wanted to wear a dress to attend his prom, but the Gary School Corporation cited a policy that forbids clothing that advertises sexual orientation or indicates that a student’s gender is different from the student’s sex.

Students and teachers knew that K.K. Logan was gay for years. During his senior year, Logan attended West Side High expressing a deeply rooted femininity in his appearance and demeanor. At school, Logan wore makeup, accessories and clothing typically associated with girls his age.

However, on May 19, 2006, Principal Diane Rouse stretched her arms across the door of the senior prom, blocking Logan’s entrance because Logan was wearing a dress. Classmates and friends rallied to Logan’s defense to no avail—even though a female student was allowed to attend dressed in a tuxedo.

The goal of the Lebanon student's lawsuit is to get the court to issue an injunction requiring it to let her wear the tux. The attorney for the school said that the lawsuit is premature and that with six more weeks until prom there was plenty of time to work on a deal that would let her wear a pantsuit to the prom.