Photo Credit: AP/Warner Bros
Emotional and financial support from Ellen DeGeneres has been offered to young Constance McMillen, 18, the high school student whose Mississippi school canceled senior prom because she wanted to (gasp!) take her girlfriend as her prom date.
With the help of the ACLU, McMillen is challenging the school's policy and trying to have the prom reinstated; we'll know the outcome of the hearing soon. In the meantime, McMillen has received some unexpected support -- both emotional and financial -- from her famous friend.
McMillen appeared on Ellen to tell her story Friday; the softspoken honors student said that she'd been appealing to the principal since December for permission to bring her girlfriend to prom. On her third attempt, the school told her: the couple could attend separately, but McMillen wasn't permitted to wear a tuxedo, and they would be asked to leave if they slow-danced, showed affection, or otherwise made anyone "uncomfortable." When McMillen turned to the ACLU for help, the school retaliated by canceling the prom altogether -- making her pretty unpopular among her classmates. Still, McMillen is taking a stand against what she feels is a discriminatory policy.
DeGeneres was so moved by McMillen's story that she offered to throw her a prom -- but the teen turned her down, saying all she wanted was "to go, and be able to be myself, and go to the prom I was supposed to have." So the talk show host found another way to show her support: in collaboration with positive news site Tonic.com, DeGeneres presented McMillen with a $30,000 college scholarship and a summer internship offer.
"I just admire you so much, because when I was your age, I never would have had the strength to do what you're doing," said DeGeneres, who waited until her late 30's to publicly come out as a lesbian in 1997. "And you're clearly a shy girl! And so by just being yourself and doing what's right, you're going to make a lot of change."
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