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A student was banned from prom for wearing a suit. Now they’re getting a prom of their own.

Some people at prom
Photo: Shutterstock

A Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee, denied one of its students entry to this year’s senior prom because they were wearing a suit. After the student’s post about the incident went viral, a local business stepped in to throw a prom for the high school senior and their friends.

Over the weekend, 18-year-old B Hayes, who uses they/he pronouns, posted a photo to Instagram showing them outside the venue where Nashville Christian School’s prom was taking place holding a sign that said, “They wouldn’t let me in because I’m in a suit.”

In the post’s caption, Hayes wrote, “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?”

Fashion personality Jenna Lyons, former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe, and country singer Maren Morris all left encouraging comments, with Morris writing, “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?”

In a statement, Nashville Christian School told NPR that the school “has established dress requirements for daily school attendance and at our special events. All students and families are aware of and sign an agreement to these guidelines when they enroll.”

The school’s “expectations regarding appropriate prom attire were communicated to this student and the student’s family in advance of the prom,” the statement continued. “While we certainly respect a student’s right to disagree, all of our students know from our school handbook that when they do not follow such expectations at school-sponsored events, they may be asked to leave.”

After learning about the incident via social media, Marcie Allen Van Mol, who owns Nashville live music venue and event space AB Hillsboro Village with her husband Derek, decided to take action.

“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,” she said.

Van Mol reached out to Hayes and offered to host another prom for the 18-year-old and 25 of their friends. Other local businesses have since offered to provide a photo booth and flowers for the event, while R&B musician Tone Stith will perform live at the event. Another local business owner, Allison Holley, launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for the event, with any additional funds going to Inclusion Tennessee and Oasis Center.

Hayes told NPR that they appreciate the support their community has shown. They also requested privacy so that they could simply enjoy the rest of their senior year.

“I would also like for this attention to shift towards those who have experienced similar situations,” they added. “You are not alone and there are people in this world who will stand with you. I want to spread positivity and help others grow through this process.”

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