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Same-sex couples can attend local proms

Lotus Rising Project sent out a newsletter earlier this month saying, “Most schools in our rural area (except for Ashland High School) do not allow youth to buy same-sex tickets to their proms or allow them to attend as couples." Is this really true that couples can't buy same-sex prom tickets to most local school proms or attend as same-sex couples? If so, I’m surprised.

— Jessica R., via email

Jessica, if this were true, we would have been surprised too. But it’s not.

Lotus Rising Project included outdated information in its e-newsletter about its All-Ages Alternative Prom, said Lori Warfield, interim executive director of the support organization for LBGTQ (lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, queer) youth.

“It shouldn’t have been printed,” she said.

“What it should have said is that because the youth do not feel supported in their schools, they feel silently discouraged and not safe attending their prom as a same-sex couple,” she said.

Warfield wasn’t aware of any local districts with policies against same-sex couples attending prom together. However, she said she did know of one student who wasn’t allowed to purchase tickets this year but declined to say which school to protect the student’s identity.

Jessica, in response to your question, administrators from districts countywide assured us that same-sex couples were allowed to participate in prom. See some of their responses below:

“They can buy same-sex couple tickets and wear whatever they want (within dress code guidelines),” said Paul Cataldo, principal of Rogue River Jr./Sr. High.

“We have no policy against that,” said Butte Falls School District Superintendent David Courtney.

“Crater (High School) does not have any restrictions on who buys tickets to dances …  who attends together …  nor are there any requirements about dress,” said Central Point schools Superintendent Samantha Steele. “If there are discounted ‘couple’ tickets, no one is concerned about the make-up of the couples purchasing or attending.”

“The only restrictions we place on students is students from another district or (those who) have already graduated have to have permission granted previous to the dance,” said Prospect School District Superintendent Don Alexander.

“We only have single tickets,” said Allen Barber, Eagle Point School District’s human resources director. “We don't have any restrictions on who is going to prom with who. There is a dress code for prom, but it simply restricts the amount of skin showing and the types of accessories.”

“Of course they can,” said Phoenix High School Principal Jani Hale. “This prom had two same-sex couples attend.”

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