LGBT youth push boundaries and spark progress toward equality

It was an important week for the rights of LGBT youth. First, school officials at Sacred Heart Cathredral Prep in San Francisco issued a formal apology for omitting Jessica Urbina's photo from the yearbook simply because she was wearing a tuxedo. After the campaign #JessicasTux went viral and classmates held a demonstration in support of Urbina, the school promptly apologized and promised to update their dress code. Urbina is overwhelmed by the support she recieved by her peers and the community at large.

Across the country, LGBT youth are being heard as well. This past weekend, Danbury High School in Connecticut proudly expressed support for the LGBT community by crowning 17-year-old Nasir Fleming as the first gay member of prom court. Fleming, who is open about his sexuality and says he is well-liked at school, was honored and somewhat shocked by this meaningful act of acceptance.

Since he was elected for both king and queen, Fleming chose to wear the tiara and hold the title of prom queen. He did this to shed light on the transgender community, which he feels is still not as accepted as the rest of the LGBT community. Fleming said:

Even though being gay is becoming more accepted, transgenders are often seen as disgusting. I’m tired of saying, ‘Let’s tolerate each other,’ because there’s always a little hate there. We need to start accepting each other.

It is noble of Fleming to promote the equality of another subset of the LGBT community when he himself has dealt with criticism for being gay. But Fleming commented that he doesn't mind when he recieves negative attention, because it means that people are watching. He attributes his self-acceptance and overall positive attitude to the love and support he has recieved from his family and friends.

One of the most memorable parts of the night for Fleming, besides being crowned queen, was sharing the king and queen dance with prom king Rohit Das. Fleming was touched that a straight student would "dance with the gay guy" regardless of what others might have thought. 

This widespread support that both Urbina and Fleming recieved is a testament to progress toward equality as well as the age we are living in. San Francisco teens led the way for change within their school by uniting as one and Danbury High School broke bounds by crowning a gay male as prom queen. Hopefully these movements will encourage more schools to move past other traditional "norms" and reconsider creating an environment where all opportunities are made equal.

Watch Fleming accept the crown as prom queen here: