Alex Blaze

Homosexuality contract?

Filed By Alex Blaze | August 31, 2008 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: balls, dancing boys, Michel Foucault, New Zealand, prom, queer theory

There are reports that several schools in New Zealand are asking students to swear to their sexuality:

Pupils are being prevented from taking same-sex partners to school balls unless they sign contracts confirming they are homosexual, a gay support group says.

The Human Rights Commission is aware of policies barring pupils who want to take same-sex ball partners. It says excluding someone on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender is potentially unlawful.[...]

Rainbow education officer Serafin Dillon knows of four Auckland colleges that do not allow same-gender ball partners unless pupils sign contracts stating their sexual orientation.

She would not name the schools but said their policies were discriminatory and breached the Bill of Rights.

Why in the world are they even being asked to do this?

Well, this is why:

Schools that barred same-sex partners were discriminating against gay pupils or those who only wanted to take their best friend.

The article uses the term "homosexuality," but I don't know if the contracts use that specific term. If they do, what about bisexual students who want to bring someone of the same sex?

And what's the problem with people going with their best friends? I went to my senior prom with a close friend who was female, and yet I was never asked to sign any contract saying I was straight.

As crazy as this sounds, this is the direct result of positing the gay rights movement as one of a minority asking for equality instead of (a) people asking for sexual autonomy. If the policy that someone can't bring a same-sex date is wrong because it discriminates against gay and lesbian students, then only allowing gay and lesbian students to bring same-sex dates is an appropriate solution. If the policy is wrong because the school doesn't have a right to tell students what the sex of their date should be, then anyone of any sexuality should be allowed to bring a date of any sex.

Hopefully, though, we don't have to look that deeply to see that this idea is simply ridiculous. Why ban students from going to prom with a best friend? Jeez, they're the only people worth going out with in high school.

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rick_from_kansas | September 1, 2008 11:58 AM

Alex i posted an article very similar to the one u posted to a small forum that i am a member of. The reponses i got were about the same: as that more than one young man taking a female date to his prom is, in fact, gay to they are trying to keep "str8" students from taking same-sex dates as support. This is an interesting concept. I just wonder if the school are trying to skirt the discrimination laws in New Zealand. THis seems very odd to me.

gregory brown | September 1, 2008 1:06 PM

There seems to be something in the makeup of school administrators everywhere that makes them unwholesomely eager to pry into the lives of homosexual students, anybody associated with them, and anybody who might be anything but members of the recieved heteronormative orthodoxy. Are there special courses for this in advanced "education" programs?

geeze... they are KIDS. they don't even know what they want for dinner let alone what their lifetime sexuality will be.

what if you break the contract?

are there incentives? I mean, as a high school kid, if you promised me some free hostess cupcakes after 10AM in the morning, I probably would have signed anything.

an apple? no way.

And what's the problem with people going with their best friends? I went to my senior prom with a close friend who was female, and yet I was never asked to sign any contract saying I was straight.

Alex, you hit the nail on the head.

Are the students who want to bring a date of the opposite sex being required to sign a statement confirming that they are heterosexual? No?

Well! ... If the gay students are required to identify themselves in writing, and the straight students aren't, then the school still discriminating against the gay students --- forcing them to do something that the straight students don't have to do!

By the way ... are they checking that the students who dress like boys each have a penis, two testicles, and are chromosomatically XY,46? Are the ones claiming to be females being checked similarly? If not, there might still be some same-sex couples squeezing in under the school's gaydar!

You're so right AJ. (as per the usual)

I was lucky to graduate from a small school (78 in my class, 1200 total in K-12).

There was no rule or stigma related to attending prom solo. More than a dozen of us decided to do exactly that.

Am I reading the broader situation accurately, that formal prom / ball events generally discriminate against those who wish to attend singly?

If true, that strikes me as the heart of the issue. Why not encourage youth to be honest by not pressuring them to adopt the trappings of dating? Of course, same-sex couples need to be welcomed equally with their oppo-sex peers. But, taking the forced romanticism out of the picture also strikes me as fair and healthy for the participants.