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Prom Is for Straight Kids

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Many gay teenagers, just like many straight teenagers, look forward to attending their high school prom. Unfortunately, some people don't like the idea of seeing two boys or two girls dancing together, and therefore attempt to prevent them from attending said prom together. Alternatively, the gay characters themselves might not want to draw attention to themselves. This may result in outrage from their friends and/or family and some sort of happy resolution.

Truth in Television for many, unfortunately, and some schools outright ban gay and lesbian couples from prom.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Double Decker shows a variation in Max's backstory — she is unable to attend prom with her transgender best friend and implied her First Love, notably while she is in a suit and her friend is in a dress. The discrimination that they faced goes on to fuel her own dislike of proms and similar gatherings, blaming it for the fall of Connor and Max's ascent as an Ice Queen she is in the present.

    Comic Strips 
  • Funky Winkerbean: A spring 2012 storyline featured a same-sex couple wanting to attend the prom together and purchasing tickets. Roberta Blackburn, a conservative activist from Westview, learns what is happening and stages a protest to force school officials to deny entry of the couple into the prom. When a counter-demonstration is planned, principal Nate Green defuses a potentially explosive showdown by announcing that the gay students will be allowed to attend and that discrimination and intolerance will not be allowed in his hallways as long as he is principal.

  • In Camp, Michael tried going to a school dance in drag, only to have his ticket thrown back at him. He later gets beaten up in the hallway.
  • G.B.F. has this mostly played for laughs — half the people invoking the trope are gay or allies involved in an elaborate revenge plot, and condemns anyone who would invoke it seriously.
  • Prom Queen: The Mark Hall Story is a Canadian television film about Hall's successful legal fight to bring a same-sex date to his Catholic school prom.
  • Saved! did it as well, although the controversy was as much over the teenage mother showing up to prom as that her gay ex-boyfriend also showed up with his boyfriend.

  • In Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel, Bill Kingsley initially doesn't want to bring a date to prom, because he doesn't want to make trouble for the school. However, Razz sets up a Win-Win-Win-Win-situation by suggesting that Bill and his date Jimmy officially go with two girls from Sally's school who were in the same situation and couldn't attend their own prom.
  • Reflections of a Rock Lobster: A Story About Growing Up Gay is a memoir by Aaron Fricke in part about his successful legal fight to take another boy to his prom.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Happens on 8 Simple Rules when Kerry decides to show her support for gay people (even though she herself wasn't gay) by taking a girl to prom. A subversion occurs when it turns out her date was also doing the same thing, meaning both girls thought the other one was a lesbian.
  • Kyle XY: When Lori Trager uncovers a policy against same-sex couples at the school dance, she organizes a protest and an alternative dance.
  • Queer as Folk (US): Justin initially doesn't want to go to his prom because he thinks it's only for straight kids, then wants to go with Brian, and ends up asking Daphne to go with him as friends. Brian surprises Justin by showing up dressed to the nines and shares a wonderful dance with him...and then Justin is gay-bashed and nearly dies.
  • Switched at Birth: When Natalie brings her girlfriend Hilary to prom, they're informed that because Hilary's in a tuxedo instead of a dress, which violates the dress code, they can't go in. Although not due to their sexuality, it's clearly restrictive about gender expression (since Hilary doesn't wear dresses). Some of the other girls too wear tuxes in solidarity with them, then stage a prom of their own on the lawn outside. They also mention other same-sex couples being refused entry elsewhere.
  • Lampshaded in the MTV series Teen Wolf. Scott McCall, who is straight, is forbidden to attend a dance but sneaks in anyway. He's spotted by a teacher, so he grabs his gay classmate for a dance. The teacher is too afraid of being thought of as homophobic to make a scene kicking Scott out if he's there with a boy, so Scott gets to stay at the dance.
  • The War at Home: After Kenny finally came out of the closet, he decided to go to prom with his boyfriend, but the school wouldn't allow it. This manages to get to the local news, only to lead to him getting taken by Child Services, seeing as the Golds weren't his actual parents.
  • Zig-zagged in Heartstopper. Despite the fact that most of the school is fine with Charlie and Nick being a couple, and they are even somewhat anticipated guests of honor, they, and their coterie of queer friends, decide to leave for an impromptu house party midway anyway.

  • Played with in Everybody's Talking About Jamie, as the issue isn't that Jamie is gay, but that he wants to come in drag, with the underlying implication that the objections are due to homophobia.
  • The entire premise of The Prom is this trope played completely (no pun intended) straight.

    Web Comics 
  • The Class Menagerie had Mikey reminiscing about the time his high school put on a rendition of Grease expy musical Slicked, where he had gotten stuck playing the nerd character. One of the scenes shown is the setup for the prom, where the announcer feels the need to clarify that only male-female couples are allowed at the dance, with the main character mocking the nerd character with an "guess you're out of luck". That Mikey himself actually is secretly gay didn't help matters.
  • Rain: The rules for senior prom state that any underclassmen and students from other schools must be a guest of a senior, and that all pairs must be a boy and a girl. Rain and her friends, many of whom are LGBTQ and/or underclassmen, come up with a plan in which several of them go as each other's "dates" to get each other into prom, but they don't have enough male seniors to cover everyone. Rain decides to take Chanel as her guest and signs up under her deadname, hoping that the prom organizers don't know her and would assume her deadname belongs to a boy.note  It works, and at the reception hall Chanel and Rain are able to get in with an excuse that they misread the rules and thought they could come as just friends — though judging by the receptionist's reaction to Chanel and Maria, they probably would have let them in anyway.
  • In Rock and Riot, the two gangs (all members queer) all want to go to prom, but the principal says that no one is allowed to flout the dress code (hence Rolly, a trans girl, isn't allowed to wear dresses) and no one can attend with an inappropriate partner. Everyone is understandably distresses.

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of The Cleveland Show has Junior, after getting a makeover, being mistaken by a lesbian schoolmate for a girl, who makes him her date to make a statement at the prom.

    Real Life 
  • Many Real Life schools have a Double Standard in place. Straight-presenting girls going together isn't a big deal, and it's not uncommon to see two or more girls dancing together even during slow, romantic songs. However, if a girl is openly lesbian or bisexual, it's likely she won't be allowed to attend with another girl or dance with one. If it's a boy, he'll likely be prohibited from both regardless of his sexuality.
    • A common Real Life solution to this problem is for LGBT community centers or similar organizations to throw 'Queer Prom' or 'Anti-Prom' so those kids have a safe space.
    • It isn't uncommon for schools to sell discount tickets for couples — provided those couples consist of one boy and one girl.
      • Though gay and bi kids (as well as single kids regardless of orientation) will often circumvent this by bringing an opposite-sex friend with them to buy the tickets, and then showing up with their real date (or lack thereof) on the big night.
  • One particularly infamous case (which inspired the musical The Prom mentioned above) was when a school in Itawamba County, Mississippi barred two lesbian students in 2010 and even after the ACLU stepped in they STILL couldn't let it go, so they set up a fake prom consisting of them and the special ed kids while the other kids went to a real prom somewhere else. Needless to say the school faced enormous backlash for being extremely cruel to both the couple and the special ed students and the girls pursued legal action.
  • Over two decades earlier, there was another case, this time in Texas, which involved two girls, Stephanie Salgado and Marie Hawkins, who actually were straight and had boyfriends, but their boyfriends didn't want to attend prom. Their school only sold couples' tickets, no individual tickets, so Stephanie and Marie decided they could share a ticket, but the school vetoed this, saying they didn't count as a couplenote . Eventually a judge overruled the school and ordered that they be allowed to attend, and unlike the 2010 case, there were no further problems.