More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
Glamour Magazine Names Constance McMillen a "Woman of the Year"
Constance McMillen has been named one of Glamour Magazine's 'Women of the Year' for 2010. We came to know Constance through her personal ordeal with Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi. The school board rejected her request to bring her girlfriend to the prom as her date, and even further, didn't allow Constance to wear a tuxedo as she had planned.
Constance didn't just sit back and accept this discrimination. Instead, she contacted the American Civil Liberties Union to report what had happened. The ACLU filed a lawsuit against her high school stating that her First Amendment rights were violated and also her freedom of expression.
The high school resorted to canceling the prom, and students placed the blame on Constance. But, while local students may not have been too pleased with her at the time, Constance garnered support around the nation and the world. In the end, she was awarded $35,000 from her high school, and fellow LGBT supporter Ellen Degeneres donated $30,000 towards her college education. More importantly, Constance's high school changed their anti-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
Constance was not silent about the inequalities that she faced, and GLAAD applauds her nomination as one of Glamour's 'Women of the Year'. Constance has said that she will continue speaking out and spreading the message of tolerance in the hopes of helping others.
The Glamour article recommends helping 'The Trevor Project', an organization that Constance supports, which focuses on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among the LGBTQ community.