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Texas School Tells Teen He Can’t Wear Dress to Prom

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Monday Feb 25, 2013

A student at a Houston high school says an assistant principal told him he couldn't wear a dress to his senior prom because it violated school policy.

Houston CBS affiliate KHOU 11 reported that Tony Zamazal finds himself wearing women's clothing more often and expressed the desire to wear a dress, heels and a wig to his senior prom. The assistant principal at Spring High School "told me it just wasn't in the dress code," Zamazal told the TV station.

The school official told him that "women wore dresses, and men wore tuxedos." Zamazal said he was extremely disappointed but remains determined to fight. A spokeswoman for the school spoke of a process which allows Zamazal formally to question the decision. The senior would first have to take his request to the principal of the high school and then go up the ranks in the city's school system.

"If I do get to go as a woman, I will be ecstatic," he said. "If I don't, it would be devastating, because I put myself out there." Zamazal added that he doesn't care how his peers view him. "It's not okay to just tell people, they can't be the way that they are," he said. "It's not just a choice of the way you look. It's more of who you are."

High school proms, those rites of adulthood that are part of the American landscape, have been undergoing some surprising changes around the country as a result of queer students being more vocal about their identity.

Just last week, the Associated Press reported that a Missouri school initially prohibited same-sex couples from attending prom but a day later rescinded their policy and said, gay couples were welcomed.

A group of students, parents and at least one teacher in Indiana's Sullivan County made national headlines this month after the coalition wanted to create a second prom for Sullivan High School that would barr LGBT students from attending. The teacher, Diana Medley, a special education from another school, was put in the media's spotlight after spewing anti-gay comments.

AP reported on Feb. 21 that officials from the Sullivan school district fired a teacher over anti-gay comments. While the district's officials never gave out the teacher's name, most assumed it was Medley.

The student who started this movement, Constance McMillen, became a national cause celebre in 2010 after the American Civil Liberties Union took up her cause. The Mississippi student was feted at gay fund-raisers around the country. Later that year, another Mississippi lesbian, Ceara Sturgis, sued her school for the same reason.

A 2011 article on EDGE took the case of a school in Michigan that decided to do away with traditional gender roles in crowning a prom king and queen as a sign of a sea change in the way students were using the prom as a way of asserting their gender identity. Students in a high school in Norton Shores, Mich., near Waukegan, voted Reed Oak, a transgendered student, as their prom king.

That followed the vote by students in Hudson, N.Y., to name two men as "king and queen." And in 2011, students in Sanford, a small town in southern Maine, elected two boyfriends as "king and queen."


  • WayGay, 2013-02-25 10:02:26

    I wish Texas would just secede already.

  • Oh Jed said:, 2013-02-25 10:33:25

    Talk about balls of steel and he’s in Texas. Even though I don’t particularly want to put on a dress, I sure wish I had the kind of courage and conviction this young man has back at his age and even now for that matter. I commend you Tony Zamazal. I can’t even bring myself to wear a kilt and I find them to be very masculine looking and appealing.

  • , 2013-02-25 13:04:41

    Don’t blame all of Texas. He might actually get to wear the dress in Houston. We have an openly lesbian mayor here. She has won a consecutive term too.

  • Parker, 2013-02-25 14:24:53

    I’m only 26 so it wasn’t too long ago that I was in high-school. The area I grew up in was very conservative and I remember us trying to have a GSA on campus. We found a teacher to be our advisor and the meeting lasted all of 5 minutes before the principal shut it down saying it would cause complaints from parents. I’m glad school are progressing but they still have a ways to go.

  • _saldana, 2013-02-25 15:58:28

    I am from Texas. Not all Texas schools are like that. I was fortunate to be able to wear a tux to the prom. I got along with the principle of my school. My girlfriend and I even took a picture with her at the prom. No one at my school said anything to me. I have been remembered by people as the only girl to wear a tux to the prom but everyone thought that it was bold and nobody judged. Everyone was welcoming, happy, and thought that it was good for me to stick to what made me comfortable.

  • BOB GARCIA, 2013-03-13 18:06:44

    It is rather surprising that the School would not allow this especially since Houston has a Gay Mayor but this is Texas we are talking about and it has a long, long history of discriminating against anyone who is not a W.A.S.P.

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