Human Rights and the School Ball


It’s school ball season!!!


I’m going to leave it up to you to decide for yourself if that means excitement, nervousness, horror or indifference.

Recently, I’ve heard some disturbing stuff about my former high school. They’ve been requesting that students intending on taking same-sex partners to their ball sign a form certifying their sexuality. Hmm. When I first heard that, I thought it was a joke.  I’d never heard anything like that during my time there.

But maybe I’d never been made to sign that form because I never actually went to my school balls. Due to a mix of hating dresses, money worries and preferring to save my energy for the party afterwards, I went to some swanky pre-balls and ate nibbles and mingled with parents, but steered clear of the big event itself.

It wasn’t until my first year out of school that I actually attended a school ball. I went as a same-sex-partner to posh private school ball that reminded me of the episode on The OC called ‘The Debut’. Always ballsy, my date decided to confront any potential marginalisation by taking me by the hand and marching up to the principle of the school.

“This is my girlfriend,” my date said. The poor lady was a little taken aback to be honest. It was a weird mix of hilarious and off-putting.

From here on in, I want to be able to tell you guys that I had a fairytale experience at my first ball. But unfortunately some girls decided to make vomiting motions behind my date and I while we were slow dancing. To this day, the part of me that sees the best in people wants to believe that their reactions were merely caused by witnessing my dancing it’s that bad. But alas, nope. So the rest of the night sort of consisted of me sitting stoney faced with my date at her table while she fought back tears.

So yeah, some silly people ruined my ball experience. But it doesn’t have to be the same for everyone.

Aiming to make sure that everyone gets to enjoy and feel safe at their school ball this year, Rainbow Youth are teaming up with YouthLaw to provide a space to discuss human rights issues around queer and trans* students attending their school balls.

The hui will take place Thursday July 25th, at Rainbow Youth’s drop-in centre on K’rd. It starts at 6.00 pm and includes a selection of speakers like our very own Sarah Murphy, along with Mira Taitz from YouthLaw, Julie Watson from the Human Rights Commission and Dan Russell from Youthline.

Check out the event on Facebook here and click attending. Then RSVP to [email protected] 

We hope to see you all there to share your stories and hear how much support there is for these issues in the queer and trans* community.

-Toni Duder

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