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Arizona

‘Straight ally’ student denied prom queen run at Arizona high school

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TEMPE, Ariz. — When you think of a high school prom, you probably imagine girls in beautiful dresses and guys in their tuxes, but a teenager says his rights were violated when a Tempe school told him he could not run for prom queen.

“It’s just about a perfect fitting dress and everyone says it looks flattering on me,” said 17-year-old McClintock High School student River Flanary.

KPHO-TV

River Flanary

He is far from a typical teenage boy.

“I jerry-rigged some rope to it so that it’s not strapless and so it’s compliant with the school dress code,” he said.

Flanary wants to be prom queen, and he’s a straight male, so when CBS 5 News asked him why he wanted to run he said, “I guess you could say that I am standing up for those who maybe weren’t bold enough to stand up before and maybe putting that courage in their hearts a little.”

He said he is talking about homosexuals, bi-sexuals or transgender students, but the Tempe School District is being very clear that a prom ballot is a write-in ballot that asks students to write in names of girls for queen and names of boys for king.

“If they want to challenge the way the ballots are written, that would need to be addressed, and it wasn’t,” said Linda Littell with the Tempe Union High School District.

Flanary said he got the most votes out of all the candidates, and while the school districts says he was disqualified, the students have their own opinions.

“No other person has done it so it seems like he should be able to do it,” said Abanoub Saad.

“He probably would have won if he wanted to be prom king. I just don’t see the point of him running for prom queen,” said Serena Kaplan.

Meanwhile, Flanary believes he’s right and he’s not giving up anytime soon.

The school district says is very careful about respecting students who have different sexual preferences, but district officials say that was not one of those cases.

River said he will wear his dress to prom this Saturday.

Watch the video report from KPHO-TV in Phoenix:

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32 more reader comments:

  1. such shit!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:00pm
  2. homophobiea

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:01pm
  3. Arizona is such a miserable, bigoted shithole. With heatstroke.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:02pm
  4. it wasn’t a few years ago. Arizona has gone to shit.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:05pm
  5. people are so ignorant these days

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:05pm
  6. Ehh. He got the most votes. If a man’s voted prom queen, and is running, he should be prom queen. Who cares about gender

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:06pm
  7. smh people these days… let him be prom queen

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:07pm
  8. i understand what he is trying to do. but there isnt a real point. now if the school didnt let him wear a dress, then thats important. but not letting him be the prom queen. i side with the school. its not like he is transgender.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:10pm
  9. And I bet if a girl wanted to wear a tux it wouldn’t be an issue.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:11pm
  10. If it were my way, he would be allowed to run for whatever he wanted. But this is gender-based. Get over it. Stop rushing to the “rescue” so that you seem like the most tolerant person in the world.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:12pm
  11. boo hiss hiss and to think i used to LIVE in tempe and liked the town – while i was there anyway

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:14pm
  12. Reminds me of that movie with Hilary Swank, I think it was called BOYS DONT CRY? Something like that anyways. I wore my sisters brand new bikini to the community pool once and I didn’t care what anyone said. I got an expensive free Tshirt for doing it =P I had fun doing it. I think the gay/lesbian alliance groups out there should put on a special prom strictly for us and we can go to that event rather then our own lame ass school events that only support the STR8 scene. Can we all band together and get a prop just for us started? What does it take to do so? Anybody?

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:17pm
  13. Prom, not prop! Damn typos ;)

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:18pm
  14. Here’s the deal… Is the young person Transgendered other? In this case I would say,”Yes”, she should be able to run for ” Prom Queen”. But, if the young person and any lawyers involved are solely pursuing this for publicity and a cash reward, then no. This is a matter of semantics.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:18pm
  15. Tara, stfu. Gender isn’t a binary, so the whole ‘guys can run for this and girls can run for this’ is totally ridiculous anyway. If I wanna run for prom queen then fuck you I’m running for it.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:21pm
  16. SHAME on McClintonck high school and Tempe Union School District.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:30pm
  17. Boy looks stylin’.
    I know it probably wouldn’t mean much coming from me, a stranger, but I’m damn proud of him.
    I wish there were more people like him, willing to make a stand like that for what they believe in.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:34pm
  18. Now that’s metal!! m/

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:36pm
  19. You know, Prom Queen and King are gender based. There comes a time when you do have to tell people No, you can’t do that. If you’re going for gender equality, then where is the mans equivalent of maternity leave? Why do women get all the money in a divorce? There comes a time when it stops being about the issue and is just nit picking and people looking to bitch a bout something. Just my two cents, commence flame war, because I know someone is going to bitch at me for this. Which is fine, because I respect your difference in opinion and won’t hate on you for it.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:41pm
  20. @ travis diss – there is no maternity leave for men cause one they are not the ones having the baby a women uses that time to heal and to bond with her child, though there is something similar to it for men who want to spend time with their child depending on the company. Women mostly win money in divorce cases because majority of them are doing the raising of the children and the money paid is what the father would have to invest if he was still in said marriage. But i can respect your opinion :)

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:47pm
  21. IF HE WANTS TO BE THE QUEEN THE GODDAMN LET HIM DO IT!!!!

    Likewise, if a girl wants to be king, whose to say she can’t be! :P

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:48pm
  22. You do realize the film Boys Don’t Cry is based on the life of a transman Brandon Teena who was later murdered? A comparison between him and the man mentioned in this article is stretching it.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:56pm
  23. What…. Being A student in Tempe myself, this is just ridiculous.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 7:17pm
  24. this kid is an idiot. Maybe not. He did get his 15 mins. of fame.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 7:51pm
  25. man what an amazing guy <3 him

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:26am
  26. The young man in this story is misguided to say the least. What happened to common sense?

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:29am
  27. He is standing up for what’s right and anyone who does not like it is “misguided”

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:50am
  28. I donot agee! Seems like he may be wanting attention in the wrong way!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 7:04am
  29. This is not furthering the gay cause, it’s mocking it.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 7:34am
  30. Ok seriously? If he wants to win an award, he can run for prom king. It’s great that he wants everyone to have equal rights but I think what he’s doing is just stupid.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 8:43am
  31. It’s not like that at all. He’s trying to stand up for the the people who are afraid to be different. I used to go to McClintock, and they are terribly conservative and repress students who try to be different in any way.

    Direct quote from River: “The last thing I’d like to mention is a compromise of expression. Alot of people spoke to me all day, and especially after the news. Lots of poeple admire for what i have done, but one girl said “the pressure of society is painful. In my personal experience, to peruse things i wanted to do i had to compromise self expression. It’s sad, but sometimes it’s needed. Does that make it right? Of course not. But it’s the way it is right now. But every so often people like you come along and challenge it and it’s simply amazing.”
    I want all of you to be individuals. I want all of you to never compromise your expressions or how you feel. All i have ever done is be myself, done what i think is right, and stuck to what i believe in. What i have done here, is a single voice. If you look at what i am capable of alone, just think of what hundreds of students can accomplish. Learn from what i have done in these past weeks, and ALWAYS standup for what you believe in.”

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 1:31pm
  32. It’s not fair to student who actually identify as female. I’m all for a trans student running, but this is just taking away the ability for females to gain the title.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 1:55pm