Angelina was not alone in her desire to change the rules—in her circle alone there are five or six kids who wanted to bring same-sex dates to the prom, says Angelina, who were either unable to do so or were forced to pay more to do so because of St. Anthony’s policies. But Angelina was the one who put her name on the line.
“There had actually been a petition going already that someone else put together,” says Angelina. “This person actually came to me and said, ‘Can you put your name on the petition? Because my mom found out and I can’t even put my name on the petition anymore.’ And I was like, ‘You know what? I’ve already spoken to Brother Joshua. He knows who I am now. I’ll take this on with you.’”
The petition asked students for their support in overturning those policies Angelina and her friends believed to be unfair; it asked the school to change the pricing structure and allow same-sex couples to attend the prom as dates rather than singles, “couples” rather than “friends.” As Angelina has observed it, more St. Anthony’s students are finding the comfort and the courage to come out; she has also noticed that more of her classmates are accepting of gay classmates, to the degree that she does not see her openly gay classmates being harassed or bullied. According to Angelina, over the course of about three days, she and another student amassed 200 signatures—what’s more, of all the students approached with the petition, only one declined to sign.
“I would have done more, she says, “but I wanted to see if it would get any reaction at all.”
To that end, she dropped off the petition with Brother Joshua’s receptionist, and later, met with the assistant principal to discuss her proposal. As Angelina recalls it, that conversation went something like this:
ANGELINA: “Did you get the paperwork that I gave to [your receptionist]?”
BROTHER JOSHUA: “Paperwork?”
ANGELINA: “You know—the information?”
BROTHER JOSHUA: “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
ANGELINA: “The petition?”
BROTHER JOSHUA: “Oh. Yes?”
ANGELINA: “Were you able to read it?”
BROTHER JOSHUA: “Yes.”
ANGELINA: “Does it make a difference at all?”
BROTHER JOSHUA: “Nope. Not at all. Nothing.”
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