support LGBTQ+ youth

Non-Binary Student Banned From Attending Prom For Wearing A Suit

Now celebrities and Nashville businesses are raising money to give them their own party.

Originally Published: 
A non-binary student in Tennessee was banned from their senior prom because they wore a suit instead...

A non-binary student at Nashville Christian School in Tennessee posted on social media, explaining they were banned from the school’s senior prom because they wore a suit instead of a dress.

B Hayes, 18, who uses they/he pronouns, posted a photo of themself outside the venue with other prom goers in the background, holding a sign that read, “They wouldn’t let me in because I’m in a suit.”

Hayes — a student of the school for 13 years — wrote in the caption that they were not even allowed in the doors before being stopped by staff and asked to leave.

“My name is B Hayes. im 18 years old and i’ve been attending Nashville Christian School for 13 years. my senior prom was today and i wasn’t allowed in the doors because i was wearing a suit,” Hayes wrote. “i should not have to conform to femininity to attend my senior prom. i will not compromise who i am to fit in a box. who are you to tell us what it means to be a woman?”

Hayes' story went viral following their Instagram post, receiving a wave of support from thousands of people, including celebrities such like country-singer Maren Morris.

“I love wearing suits and you look amazing. What is your school gonna do come graduation day when the boys have to wear cap and GOWNS?” the singer responded.

Fashion designer and former J. Crew creative director and upcoming Real Housewives of New York star Jenna Lyons commented, “What’s ironic — is religion is about doing onto others as you would have done onto you ….. so — what happened here. I can’t imagine anyone who is truly spiritual to think that shaming someone and making them feel unwelcome because of their clothing or personal choices is really ok ????? It’s not — you are beautiful and you belong.”

“If I could rewind time I would have gone to my prom in a pant suit. Didn’t Jesus wear a gown? I love that you are standing up for yourself and we will stand with you!!” former Bachelorette star Kaitlyn Bristowe added.

The idea that anyone would not allowed to attend an event for not wearing a dress is astronomically archaic in thinking, but this is a southern Christian school we’re dealing with.

Nashville Christian School’s rules state: “God created us as male or female, and we will live consistently with the gender God chose for us.”

In a statement to NPR, the school said it “has established dress requirements for daily school attendance and at our special events.”

It went on to say, “All students and families are aware of and sign an agreement to these guidelines when they enroll. Expectations regarding appropriate prom attire were communicated to this student and the student’s family in advance of the prom.”

When local business owner and mom Marcie Allen Van Mol heard about what happened to Hayes, she offered to host a special prom for them at the live music venue she owns, AB Hillsboro Village.

“It just really upset me that this child was not allowed to attend their prom because they weren't wearing a dress. It is that simple of an issue. And it's not OK,” Van Mol told NPR.

Ray Di Pietro

After Hayes agreed to attend, Van Mol posted on social media about the alternative prom event and was flooded with responses from other local businesses who wanted to help with the event.

Allison Holley, the owner of Nashville's Apple & Oak, set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to help “Throw the Ultimate Prom for B'“ with a goal of $40,000. It’s almost hit that goal.

As for Hayes, the attention they received from a simple Instagram post has been surprising.

“It’s been amazing to see so many people share, like and comment on my post. I never imagined it would get this amount of attention,” Hayes wrote in an email to The Washington Post.

Ray Di Pietro

Hayes and 25 of their friends enjoyed their own private prom at AB Hillsboro Village along with live performances from Tone Stith, Bryant Taylorr, Grace Bowers and Paul McDonald and DJ Housequake, as well as Tyler Martinez.

Nashville based Stylist Leigh Taylor Richardson helped style B's full look while The Vampire Diaries actress, Candice King — who was an early supporter — attended as a chaperone.

B was also surprised with a Meet + Greet with Phoebe Bridgers before the Taylor Swift concert as a gift from the Van Mols.

It goes without saying at this point that B’s prom was better than anything a local high school would put together.

The discussion about whether or not a person should be able to wear pants or not currently aligns with the list of ridiculous and mixed-up priorities Nashville legislation has on their desk right now.

“The Nashville community isn’t really reflected in our lawmakers or our leadership,” Holley told The Washington Post, gesturing to several Tennessee laws working to restrict LGBTQ rights. “We’re a loving, supportive, diverse, inclusive and creative community.”

Ray Di Pietro

Rightwing lawmakers in Tennessee have already banned drag shows near schools and gender-affirming care for trans teens. They are also working on a proposed bill that would force drag queens to register as “adult cabaret” performers.

Those same lawmakers have also been remarkably silent when it comes to the six people, including three children, were killed by gun violence at a private Christian school in Nashville.

After the shooting, the Republican-led Tennessee House voted to kick out two Democratic lawmakers who took park in a protest in support of gun-control legislation. Though both expelled Democrats have since been reappointed, lawmakers still have done literally nothing to help tighten up gun control.

Maybe the focus should be taken off fashion and put onto keeping kids safe and educated.

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