Constance McMillen is giving high school students in Mississippi a lesson in mental toughness. She’s an 18-year old high school senior who wants to attend the prom. When the school board found out she was a lesbian and wanted to bring her girlfriend to the dance, they freaked out and canceled the prom. USA Today has been covering this story all week. Here are my critical thinking questions on this story: When will we finally stop discriminating against minorities? When will America grow up and begin practicing the tolerance we love to lecture our children about? When will we finally accept people of all orientations, races, colors, and beliefs? And for the people who still actually believe gay people choose to be gay, here’s my critical thinking question for you: who in their right mind would CHOOSE to be gay in a country that viciously attacks gay people on every front? Millions of gay people are terrified to come out of hiding. It’s not only sad, it’s criminal and it needs to stop. Please watch this post and leave your comments. This young girl is fighting for her rights, and millions of kids are getting a lesson in discrimination and intolerance. I look forward to another spirited debate on this very important issue.  Steve Siebold

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Steve Siebold
Author and Professional Speaker since 1997. Past Chairman of the National Speakers Association's Million Dollar Speakers Group. Author of 11 books with 1.4 million copies in print.

78 thoughts on “Mentally Tough Lesbian Fights Back”

    1. Thanks, but I’m just an ordinary, concerned citizen. Hopefully our political leadership will eventually get their act together.
      Thanks for your comment.

  1. To John O,

    This thread reeks of post modernism and relativism.

    Whether I love making music has nothing to do with whether I am a born to be a musician.

    I might as well call myself a unicorn. Who’s to say I am not? If I define myself, then I can be whatever I want to be.

    Being a victim of child abuse indicates a ‘nurture’ instead of ‘nature’ cause of homosexuality.

    Bad argument trying to blame God for man’s evil. I suppose if you are really anti-God, then your argument might make sense…

    Finally you assume what you are trying to prove in your last comment about gays denying ‘who they are’ by going straight.

    Tell that to an alcoholic. “Be who you are man.” Rubbish….

  2. “Itawamba County Schools in Mississippi have a policy which states that all prom dates must be of the opposite sex. Constance McMillan a Lesbian Senior is now challenging that. McMillan wanted to bring her girlfriend to the prom, instead of denying the request Itawamba County Schools simply cancelled the prom. As you might imagine, the ACLU has filed suit on behalf of Constance McMillan.” On line news source

    Testing the policy is the issue. It could have been any other policy under attack. So this board has to respond to an attack on a policy and in this case it’s controversal and has cultural implications of a grand scale.

    From that people begin to make tolerance and intolerance issues, religious and non religious issues putting it in a larger context.
    Steve’s quesiton has to do with who in their right mind would choose to be gay in such a discriminatory environment. Condition of mind is a difficult one to get at and I suspect there are people in or out of their right mind who would say or do something aware of the fall out and controversy.

    Others would do it ignorantly or innocently relative to fall out and controversy – or is it blow back, today?

    The young girl challenged a policy and in that really said: This is who I am respect it and change the rule for me. That can be viewed as a heroic stand – Steve would say mentally tough.

    What the school board should have done is up to lots of interpretations and most will be exclusive. There are ways to agrue many positions.

    My experience in public education leads me to believe that had the members of the board just let it happen and let her take another girl to the prom, little if anything of any consequence would have happened. The majority of the kids would have ignored and accepted it.

    But how would the local community have acted I don’t know but suspect it would not have been as ignoring and accepting as the kids.



  3. To Bert and anyone else who thinks that being gay is a choice:

    First of all, I think you should be the judge of whether or not you are a musician. It is your choice and I can’t tell you whether or not you love to make music. I may be missing something, but I feel like you are making my point.

    I don’t know what percentage of gay people were victims of sexual abuse as youngsters and how that compares with the percentage of heterosexual people who were as well, but even if I conceded that were true, I don’t think their orientation (if caused by trauma as a small child) is a “choice” at that point any more than disfigured skin is a result of being burned as a kid. So again I say that it wasn’t their “choice” to be abused much as the fallout from such an event isn’t their “choice” either. Finally, back to the god issue that keeps coming up, wouldn’t god be the one who allowed them to be abused in the first place? If so then couldn’t it be argued that god, once again, “made them that way”?

    Also, regarding people who are gay and force themselves to practice a heterosexual lifestyle. I think among the community of people who have tried this, the overwhelming facts seem to support that it is a very bad idea to make people live a life that isn’t true to who they are. There are lots of surprised wives and children, families victim to the phenomenon who might disagree that they “thrive in it”.

  4. John O – you raise excellent points.

    First of all, I’m no proponent of theocracy (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or otherwise). I think that religious concepts ought to compete in the marketplace of ideas in a free society. Actually, Barack Obama gave a great speech on this topic a few years back:

    Marriage really is a religious ideal, isn’t it? Perhaps marriage ought to be a function of religions, and the state ought to issue civil union licenses to any couple who wants one?

    RE: slavery and the Bible… I found this helpful.

    My understanding as a 21st century Christian is that the laws of the Old Testament re: shellfish, adultery, rebellion, etc. were examples of a standard of behavior that no one could reach.

    The function of the Old Testament laws in the life of a Christian is to raise up a holy standard that all would fall short of, thus the need for a Savior to forgive.

    To your point about mixing man’s laws with God’s laws…

    Our laws against murder, theft, etc., it could be argued, are based on the 10 commandments. Surely that’s okay with you, right?

    The great religions of the world can have an influence on culture and laws, right? It’s all over our laws. The concept of separation of powers (executive, legislative, judicial branches of govt.) has as its basis Isaiah 33:22, for example.

    No, I’m not psychotic, so I don’t practice all (or depending on the day, ANY) of God’s laws. The law of God, as I understand it, is to love God, and love your neighbor. Most often, I do a pretty bad job of even this.

    Just for the record, no Christian church I’ve ever gone to has ever attempted to shut out anybody.

    I guess my big issue is the redefinition of a word, marriage, to accommodate something that marriage isn’t. Maybe I’m not a stew brained religious bigot after all, but a stickler for calling things by their proper name?

  5. To Steve,

    Should the evidence for ‘born gay’ be self testimony? Does such testimony ignore several important considerations?

    What about people who choose to practice a hetero lifestyle after having lived a homosexual lifestyle. And they thrive in it!

    What about the people who are bisexual? Are they born half-gay?

    Let’s ask the question again. Is being gay a decision? If it is, when is the decision made? Could it be that the ‘decision’ is made so early in life that it is thought/felt to be from birth.

    Behavioral scientists tell us that many gay men are victims of childhood abuse by pedophiles. Interesting to weigh in the consideration, no?

    The next time you talk to a gay person, ask them if they were ever seduced/abused by a man while a youngster. Consider the weight of the revelations…

    Steve, what if I told you I was born to be a musician? Would you ever believe me? Should I be the best judge of that?

  6. I finally agree with Brian.

    God’s laws DO NOT have to change to accomodate any exceptions to the rule.

    I would like you to consider for a moment a world where MAN’S laws continued not to change as well, much like you think MAN’S laws shouldn’t change to accommodate gay marriage.

    – The bible says that keeping of slaves is A-OK, in fact it lays out guidelines on how they should be treated, brutally punished, and ultimately executed for certain offenses. It was a grand institution as well, in fact, I heard people were pretty bent out of shape when it ended in the United States, they didn’t want their institution changed.

    – The bible says women should be put to death for adultry. I can imagine right now how it would look if President Obama took the podium to address the nation and informed us all that with the overwhelming evidence in the bible, we now conclude that this is what “jesus wants” so female adulturers will now be put to death. Also any woman raped can also be stoned to death. No one is asking them to change and stop being adulterous, but “institutions like marriage [and the biblical rules associated with it] ought not to change to accomodate exceptions to the rule”.

    – Also, working on the sabbath is punishable by death. I can just see the local police hauling people away and telling them, hey, don’t worry, I don’t mind that you are cutting your lawn on the Sabbath, but god’s laws can’t be changed, so later on today, we are going to bury you up to your chest in public square and people are going to throw heavy stones at your face until you are dead. We would change this, except god specifically says in leviticus the this is a “permanent covenant” and cannot be changed ever, no matter what.

    I guess my point is that you are mixing “god’s laws” with municipal laws. At the end of the day, most people want to live their lives and love who they love and they don’t give a hoot if they are accepted by you or anyone else, they just want the rights everyone else has, they don’t want to bother you and they don’t want you to bother them. Your laws of god are fine in your church, but trying to make everyone live by them is too pushy and no one likes it.

    Finally, I would imagine that unless you are psychotic you probably don’t practice all of “god’s laws” to the letter because some of them are outdated or too harsh or don’t make sense in 2010. This being the case, how do you pick? How do you decide that the civil rights movement is a good christian cause even though the bible condones and outlines slavery as a normal part of daily life and a god-given right, yet at the same time decide that homosexuality is a sin and not only should those people be shut out of your church, but that a federal or state law should be written and enforced to stop them? Unless you are going to back up every silly biblical law, it seems that only following some of them is discriminatory, in this case it seems discriminatory specifically against gays. It is so discriminatory, in fact, that it could be said that christians may even have an “agenda” that specifically calls for discrimination against whole groups of people. As a less religious believer, that just seems morally and intellectually fraudulent to me.

  7. To Brian Kirk,

    I liked your post for the most part. I did have a criticism of paragraph 3, which if I understood it correctly misses the mark.

    In paragraph 3, you state that our sinning doesn’t keep us from God’s acceptance because we are all his children.

    Not quite. For the believer continued sinning causes us to feel guilt and shame, which does not happen with an unbeliever. Those feelings are callbacks to repent. The unbeliever feels none of that, and therefore feels no motivation to correction. He also likewise feels no obligation to show gratitude for Christ’s atoning sacrifice.

    Being ‘acceptable’ to God has little to do with our being his children, and almost everything to do with our accepting Jesus Christ as our savior.

  8. Tony P: thanks for the link!

    Here’s the thing. I believe that sin is sin. I sin every day of my life. If I look at a woman lustfully, Jesus said it’s as though I’ve committed adultery with her. So the sin bar is raised really high, I believe, in order to show us all that we need a Savior. Rather than say Y is not a sin (which the author of the article seems to do), why not say, yes, Y is a sin, but I’m forgiven anyway?

    I have yet to see such scholarly theological work arguing that the concept of adultery or fornication is old-fashioned gobbledygook (though I’m sure it’s out there).

    I don’t believe that homosexuality or homosexual behavior keeps anyone away from heaven or a relationship with God, just as eating shellfish doesn’t. I believe that our acceptance by God has nothing to do with our performance, and everything to do with the fact that we are His children, no matter what.

    Marriage, for thousands of years, has been about procreation primarily. Marriage has always (until recently) been recognized as a union between man and woman (and in some cultures, multiple women). And yes, some cultures have been so stew-brained, to borrow a phrase, that they’ve banned interracial marriage (I personally think there’s one race, the human race, so this is just ridiculous).

    So I’m all for civil unions and / or the legal equivalent of marriage. And if some church wants to marry two men, fine. I just have a problem with changing the very definition of an institution that is no doubt the cornerstone of civilization.

    As far as the “born that way” argument, I would say we are all born that way, i.e. we are all born with our own crosses to bear. Do we redefine sin and age old institutions to accommodate those struggles, or do we persevere in the faith?

    Again, I’m not saying that gays need to change in order to be acceptable to me, God, or anyone else. I’m just saying that God’s laws and institutions like marriage ought not change to accommodate the exceptions to the rule.

  9. LBelle. or “what morals do you embrace? Very few people live amorally.

    Generic definitions of morals:

    1. Of or concerned with the judgment of the goodness or badness of human action and character: moral scrutiny; a moral quandary.
    2. Teaching or exhibiting goodness or correctness of character and behavior: a moral lesson.
    3. Conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior; virtuous: a moral life.
    4. Arising from conscience or the sense of right and wrong: a moral obligation.
    5. Having psychological rather than physical or tangible effects: a moral victory; moral support.
    6. Based on strong likelihood or firm conviction, rather than on the actual evidence: a moral certainty.



  10. I should have said:

    Over the past decade – or so – it’s become somewhat “fashionable” for some people to attempt to channel their natural heterosexual inclinations into a gay lifestyle and visa versa. Some may remain in that other orientation by choice. Hetero and Homo orientations are biological and there are other biological configurations.

    To name one, Ellen DeGeneres lives a mentally tough life.

    I anticipate the day this kind of heated discussion is a thing of the past.



  11. Over the past decade it’s become “fashionable” with some people to attempt to channel natural inclinations into a gay lifestyle. Some may remain in that orientation by choice. Hetero and Homo orientations are biological and there are other biological configurations.

    To name one, Ellen DeGeneres lives a mentally tough life as she is who she is and does what she does.

    I anticipate the day this kind of heated discussion is a thing of the past.



  12. IN response to this article, who would CHOOSE a lifestyle based on discrimination and hatred by the people of society, well the same question could be posed on other sexual orientation, such as pedophilia. Do you really want to practice toleration of orientation? People do not tolerate a choosen lifestyle that is morally wrong. Liberal minded people feel that pedophiles can be rehabilitated, but gays can’t? If it is scientifically proven that gays were born this way, why hasn’t evolution weeded them out?

    Toleration will only come about when people lose their morals. This is not an issue of individual rights it is an issue of morals. People that lose their morals have nothing to guide them in life of what is right and what is wrong. So actually the critical quesiton is what morals are willing to give up?

  13. Steve,

    You said, “who in their right mind would CHOOSE to be gay in a country that viciously attacks gay people on every front?”

    The assumption you make is that homosexuality is not a choice.

    Bank robbers choose to rob banks even though there are laws that will land them in jail if caught.

    NBC regularly catches sexual predators after young girls and boys. Do you think they don’t have a choice in pursuing these underage kids?

    You throw around the label ‘intolerant’, but it just comes back at you like a boomerang. Doesn’t it? Or is the label only reserved for people who disagree with your morality?

    1. Bert,
      Thanks for your comments. Glad to see you weighing in on this one. The reason I say gay people are born gay is every gay person I’ve met has told me this. I used to talk about this issue in my speeches, (until corporate America stopped me) and it gave me the opportunity to meet hundreds of gay people at book signings and backstage. Some of them still email me and are thrilled to have another voice attempting to clarify their experience.
      I don’t understand how anyone who is NOT gay can tell a gay person that their sexual orientation is a choice. Wouldn’t the only expert on this be a gay person?

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