This year, the St. Anthony’s senior prom falls on Monday, June 6. Tickets went on sale for the event in March. That’s about when Angelina realized bringing Brianne was going to be an issue, and when she brought her concerns to the school’s administration. First, she approached her school’s principal, Brother Gary Cregan, who told Angelina what he tells all students when they approach him with questions about the prom: Talk to Brother Joshua—that is, Assistant Principal Brother Joshua DiMauro, director of student activities at St. Anthony’s, the man who organizes the prom. And when she did, as Angelina remembers it, this is how that conversation went:
ANGELINA: “What’s the situation with same-gender couples at prom?”
BROTHER JOSHUA: “There aren’t any.”
ANGELINA: “At all?”
BROTHER JOSHUA: (voice raised) “They go as friends.”
This is what that means:
There is first the question—and discrepancy—of price. For an opposite-sex “couple” to attend St. Anthony’s prom together, they would pay $290, together, in one lump sum. For two same-sex “friends” to attend together they would pay $330, split in half, $165 apiece. (Again, to be clear, there is no option here recognizing a same-sex “couple.”)
Furthermore, for an opposite-sex couple to attend prom together, only one of the students has to attend St. Anthony’s—the other is allowed to attend as a “date,” and can come from anywhere else. For a same-sex couple to attend prom together, both students have to attend St. Anthony’s—because they would be doing so not as a couple, but as a pair of singles, and no singles outside St. Anthony’s are allowed to attend St. Anthony’s prom.
So, at best, a gay student must pay more than her heterosexual counterpart to bring her date of choice to the prom—at worst, she is barred from bringing her date of choice at all. Because Brianne is not a student at St. Anthony’s, Angelina would not be allowed to bring her. It was not, however, the injustice that left Angelina shaken. Not at first anyway. No, at first, she was taken aback by what she perceived as Brother Joshua’s volatile tone.
“He was really harsh about it, almost yelling, and that had really upset me,” says Angelina. And after her meeting with Brother Joshua, a rattled Angelina ran into a few other members of the faculty: “A teacher, a sister and a brother [Angelina declined to name anyone at the school—faculty or students—who has sympathized with or aided her cause, to keep them from any potential retribution] told me that, ‘You have to fight this, you have to stand up for yourself.’”
So that’s what she did.
Tags: Angelina Lange, Brother Gary Cregan, Brother Joshua DiMauro, California Supreme Court, Catholic Church, Constance McMillen, Cover Story, David Kilmnick, featured, featured-scroll, Itawamba Agricultural High School, Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth, Long Island Schools, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, NYCLU, prom, seinor prom, Sister M. Ambrose Wozniak, St. Anthony’s, St. Anthony’s High School, Unruh Civil Rights Act, Villa Maria Academy