My Prom Experience

A typical gathering, with boys in tuxedos, and...

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This is email that I sent to a lawyer that I want to share with you all. Yes it exposes my birth name which has been changed, but I think the story is more important than my shame of that old name. Im to old to care about that…lol. The letter will fill you in on the details….Here we go
Hello Mr. Lee,“Sometimes it’s difficult to take the First Amendment seriously.
Recently, such as, amid important stories about v-chips and X-rated videos, two reports came out of Indiana about people who had won the First Amendment right to look silly.
One report was from Indianapolis, where a federal judge upheld a male student’s First Amendment right to wear a dress to his high school prom. The other originated in Goshen, where a different federal judge preserved the constitutional right to wear masks.
Both rulings undoubtedly are solid First Amendment decisions, based on fundamental free-expression principles. I’d probably be one of those screaming the loudest if either had been decided the other way. I can’t help but think, though, that the First Amendment deserves cases better than these two.
Dale Stewart might be a fine young man. But if my son announced that he planned to wear a black formal dress to his prom, my primary concern would not be whether someone might attempt to interfere with his First Amendment right to do so. Rather, I probably would be relieved to learn that the school administrators had adopted a dress code that prohibited such juvenile behavior. And I can’t imagine any circumstances in which I — no matter how devoted I was to my son or to his First Amendment rights — would allow him to file a federal lawsuit to challenge the school administrators’ decision.
What disturbs me most about this case is that, to me, First Amendment cases should be based on issues of principle. When a speaker asserts free-speech rights, he should do so because he believes the speech is important. When a speaker instead uses the First Amendment to prove only that his right to speak is superior to someone else’s right to stop him, the right of free expression is trivialized. There might be something about Stewart that I don’t know, but it seems that he cared about the First Amendment only to the extent that it allowed him to openly defy school officials.”

That is an interesting point of view. One thing you had right was that there was something about Stewart that you did not know. Let me fill you in, since I am, formerly, Dale Stewart. Not that you care but I just want to vindicate myself even if it just to your inbox.
Prior to this case, I had been living as a teenage tgirl since 13. I was emancipated, graduated early from high school, and I was living in my place when this incident occurred.  Only thing left to do  was wait for was my prom and graduation; two things teenage expects and prepares for their whole high school life. During high school, I was dressing in female appropriate attire and using female bathrooms with no problem from the student body or the faculty. I compete in school competitions and other events where I represented my school with pride as a tgirl. In my whole 4 high school years never once were there any expressed opposition to how I was living my life or my style of dress from school faculty.
A week before prom, I still was apart of school productions with drama club and the highest level of choir. I was in the hallway practicing some music when the principal and the superintendent of IPS approached me and other students with smiling faces. The principal asked us to sing one of our songs we sung for competition. We gladly obliged. After the song, the principal clapped and kissed me on my cheek. In response, I said something about her leaving an odor on my cheeks . She was known for horrible breathe. I said something about it just to get a laugh from my fellow classmates in front of her and superintendent . That was my immature teenager mistake. The next week (2 day before prom) after posing for the class picture in a dress and heels. The principle forced me off the front row of the class picture. I was called over the intercom to the principal’s office. I walked in. She sat me down and told me she had something to talk to me about but I would need a parent present. I told her I was emancipated so she could talk to me as an adult. So she did. She asks me if I was going to the prom. I said yes. She said “Well, We can’t allow you to go to the prom in girl’s clothing.” My heart dropped. This was her revenge. I had spent money on a dress and made an hair appointment and arranged for limo like the other high school girls around the country were doing for some time and NOW she is going to tell me that I have to go in a tuxedo two days before the prom. I felt anger. I felt there was an injustice going on. I didn’t know what to do. I spoke to some teachers and they secretly gave me the number to the ACLU and I called the local  news stations. The news came out and covers my case that next day before the prom. The same day I met with the ACLU lawyer. The next morning, day of the prom, I was in court fighting for my first Amendment rights. I was not fighting for the right  to defy school official or to be silly and dress like a girl for some shock value as you implied. This was how I lived because I was transgendered. This was not new to my school officials. This actually was expected of me which is why she felt the need to tell me not to come as my normal self. Due to the expectation, it made me vulnerable to the abuse of power. Excuse the pun but, at the time, I had the balls to fight for my rights so I did. I won the case. I enjoyed my prom like a normal high school teen.
I understand that some people use the first amendment to do silly things and prove silly points. I was not one of those people. I was just trying to do what I had done for my whole four high school year: live and dress in a way that was right for the identity I wanted to project to the world. If the First Amendment allows me to do that, then I will use it to protect my expression of that identity. You may not understand that because you are a white heterosexual male and hold the advantages that comes with that accepted identity.  Historically, apathy for the marginalized has never been your identity’s strong point. 
Thank you for your time.
Diamond Stylz

About Diamond Stylz

Diamond Stylz is a transgender producer/activist/public speaker. She is the host of Marsha's Plate Podcast and the Exe Dir of Black trans Women Inc.From sharing her sultry voice in song, thought leaderships on trans womanist issues,and commentary on life and current events, she will capture your heart.
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6 Responses to My Prom Experience

  1. Pingback: TransGriot Ten Questions Interview-Diamond Stylz | Recent Travel

  2. James says:

    Your post will be rather good, and I’m sure some will find it interesting because it’s about a topic that’s as widely discussed as others. Some may even find it useful.Thanks so much for your post.


  3. Diamond,
    Your case happened in 1999, then that puts KK Logan’s case in Gary, where KK was denied entrance to the prom after wearing femme attire the entire senior year, in a new light.

    Anyway, keep speaking up and standing up for yourself and our community. looking forward to meeting you one day.


    • diamondstylz says:

      THANK YOU for the feed back, Monica i would love to meet you also. Luckily for me, my principal told me days before the prom. She intented for it to deter me from going but it actually helped in the end. KK Logan did not know they would deny her so it was too late to act on it at the actual time of the her prom. I had the heads up, so that allowed me to get the news and ACLU involved. I think if the principal would have waited until the actual prom to deny me, she would have got her wish of me being denied.


  4. chartreuseflamethrower says:

    That sounds horrible!

    I love that people see the word “transgendered” and immediately assume that they know everything without bothering to check. The situation is way different than how he described it- you’d think he’d be required to check what the case was actually about before disregarding it like that. (although if he knew the details and STILL thought it was “silly”… Urgh.)


    • diamondstylz says:

      Exactly. He said in his article “It must be something i dont know about Stewart” so he obviously didnt take the time to look at that case at all…cause that was key point of reference


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