It’s prom season for high school students across the country, and while there are those worried about what they’ll be wearing, there are worried about who their date will be, especially homosexual students.
Gay marriage has sparked an ongoing conversation across the U.S., but despite conversations being started that doesn’t necessarily mean things are changing for the better, said Aubrey Wilkerson, the Executive Director of Out Youth in Austin.
“There's still a stigma for sure,” Wilkerson said “Having [same-sex] couples attend prom has desperately gotten better over the years but I think we still have a long way to go.”
Out Youth is a non-profit organization providing services to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth ages 12 to 19 in Austin and central Texas. One of the things the group does annually is hold a prom for kids that part of the organization.
“More kids came to our make shift prom, probably more than they attend their own high school one,” Wilkerson said. “Probably because of that acceptance and comfort level…it’s not completely there within the schools.”
In San Antonio, Northside I.S.D. and San Antonio I.S.D both say they have no problem with same-sex couples attending any of the school districts’ junior/senior prom.
“We don't discriminate on same-sex couples,” said spokesperson for S.A.I.S.D. Aubrey Chancellor. “If a girl wants to bring another girl or a boy wants to bring another boy we simply state that they are allowed to bring only one guest.”
While S.A.I.S.D. allows students to bring any guest, they must be younger than 21 years old and must have attended or be attending high school. Northside I.S.D. said as long as they have parent permission, any person's date is allowed.
“Students can bring whoever they wish to their prom,” spokesperson for Northside Pascual Gonzalez said. “It’s not an issue in the Northside School District if same-sex couple would like to attend… we don’t judge anyone.”
In fact, we’ve seen less and less couples going to prom and more groups attending, Gonzalez said.
“We're seeing whole groups of or groups of guys just coming together and going as a group of friends,” Gonzalez said.