Non-binary student banned from school prom for wearing a suit – then something incredible happened

Local businesses in Nashville are holding a prom for a non-binary student who was denied entry to their own high school dance because they turned up wearing a suit instead of a dress.

On 23 April, 18-year-old B Hayes took to Instagram to share their disappointment at being turned away from their prom at Nashville Christian School, in Tennessee.

They posted a picture from outside the event with a sign that read: “They wouldn’t let me in because I’m in a suit.”

The photo was accompanied by a caption that read: “I’m 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.

“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?”

When local business owner Marcie Allen Van Mol heard the story, she contacted Hayes and offered to organise a prom just for them.

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Other local businesses pitched in, offering a photo booth, flowers and music, to make it a special night.

“It 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.

Van Mol set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to “Throw the Ultimate Prom for B” with a goal of $40,000 (£32,000). Comedian Chelsea Handler retweeted it and the pot currently stands at more than $38,000 (£30,000).

Any additional money donated will be split between Inclusion Tennessee and Oasis Center, two charities selected by Hayes. 

The very special prom will take place later this month, with a few of Hayes’ friends invited along.

Speaking to NPR, Hayes said: “I would also like for this attention to shift towards those who have experienced similar situations, you are not alone and there are people in this world who will stand with you.”

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 enrol. Expectations regarding appropriate prom attire were communicated to this student and the student’s family in advance of the prom.”

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