If you're looking for a Tuesday morning hero, why not Belinda Sanchez? The 18 year-old lesbian is a senior at Maywood, Illinois' Proviso East High School, whose student body is 70% black and 24% Latino. Belinda has been out since she was a freshman and says the school, which has a GSA, is very accepting of LGBT students. So she was "just shocked" to hear the principal tell her she had to wear a dress -- not a tuxedo -- to the prom on April 22. Belinda hopes to become a civil rights lawyer, and she knew whom to call: The ACLU. The group's LGBT Project director John Knight said,
"This sends a negative message to other students that they can't express who they are. It's a First Amendment right, a free speech right, and that includes her right to send a message through wearing male clothing that she doesn't think women should be restricted to traditional female clothing."
The ACLU sent a concerned letter to the school board, which overruled the principal's decision. District spokesperson TaQuoya Kennedy praised Belinda for opening "up a new, very interesting and healthy dialogue in terms of our prom review procedures. We support our students in all of their differences and we encourage them to express themselves in various ways as long as it is not disruptive to the school environment."
Belinda told the Chicago Tribune, "I'm happy. I didn't just stand up for myself. I did this for everyone who's in a position like I'm in."
(Photo by Michael Tercha, Chicago Tribune)