What kid doesn’t dream about going to the homecoming dance? You wonder what it will be like and who you are going to bring as a date to make it an extra special day. I know I do. I’m sure the same was true for a gay Christian Brothers High School (CBHS) senior Lance Sanderson. Like any student, he was planning to attend the dance with his date. Imagine his shock and pain when he was told by school administrators he wouldn’t be able to bring his male date to the dance. Especially after an administrator last year had expressed their support when he inquired about bringing a male date. That administrator has since left the school.

The administration found a loop hole to cover their bases. The private all-boys Catholic school has issued a policy on its website stating, ”CBHS students may attend the dance by themselves, with other CBHS students, or with a girl from another school. For logistical reasons, boys from other schools may not attend.”

Lance Sanderson Midsouth Pride 2015Of course, the school’s administration claims its refusal to let Lance bring his male date had nothing to do with being homophobic.

Lance opted out of the dance and did not attend to avoid further scrutiny.

But Wait! The story gets worse. When Lance returned to school, an administrator tells Lance “to go home for the rest of the week,” saying he is the cause of “unwanted negative publicity.” However, the administration did tell Lance it had “other students to worry about and couldn’t deal with him,” emphasizing, again, to Lance he simply doesn’t matter in the eyes of his school. As schools often do, they are trying to sweep this incident under the carpet.

The result? Lance is worried about his grades. With it being his senior year, every grade is important. In fact, Lance planned to meet with college admissions representative during the week to discuss his college plans. But he was sent home for one week.  Another dream crashed. The message Lance’s school administrators are sending to him is loud and clear— he can’t be his true self, and he should hide who he is? I’d like to remind the administration, the year is 2015! Even Pope Frances is speaking out in support of the LGBTQ community, so why do you think it’s okay to judge Lance?

The sooner we all understand every human being has a right to be themselves, the better it will be for our society, and the faster we will grow into a more accepting place for the  generations to come. 

Lance, if you get a chance to read this, I have only one thing to say—you are an amazing and inspirational individual. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. School will be over someday, and you will live your life the way you think is right. I have gay parents and they are the best mothers I could ever ask for.  I know you will grow up to be kind, loving, smart and successful. Our world is changing slowly, but it’s happening thanks to the young people like you.

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