July 21, 2010 / 12:57 AM / 9 years ago

Mississippi lesbian teen wins suit over canceled prom

Teenager Constance McMillen, whose high school prom was canceled when she asked to attend with a girl, arrives at the GLAAD Media Awards in Century City, California April 17, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Redmond

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Reuters Life!) - A Mississippi teen-ager who was prevented from attending her high school prom with her girlfriend has settled a suit against her school district.

The Itawamba County school district will pay Constance McMillen $35,000, said a school district spokesman.

“I am really excited that it is over with and we won and things are going to change,” said McMillen, 18, Tuesday. “People hate because they are scared and ignorant and they hate change. This will help everybody.”

McMillen, who has been openly gay since 8th grade, said she appealed to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) after Itawamba Agricultural High School canceled its prom in April to prevent her from attending with her girlfriend.

“She was standing up for the right to be treated equally and not to be forced to wear certain types of clothing to conform to gender stereotypes,” said ACLU counsel Christine Sun.

McMillen has moved to Memphis, Tennessee, and will start college next year.

Reporting by Verna Gates, writing by Matthew Bigg, editing by Greg McCune

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