About the Post

Author Information

J. PATRICK REDMOND was born and raised in southern Indiana and recently returned to his home state after sixteen years of living in South Florida and teaching for the Miami-Dade County Public School System. Presently he teaches English Composition at the University of Southern Indiana. Patrick holds a BA in English from Florida International University in Miami and an MFA in creative writing and literature from Stony Brook University in Southampton, New York. He is a contributing blogger for the Huffington Post, and his writing has appeared in the NOH8 Campaign blog, the Southampton Review, and in the Barnes & Noble Review’s Grin & Tonic. He is also the 2012 recipient of the Deborah Hecht Memorial Prize in Fiction. Some Go Hungry is his first novel, and when asked about it, Patrick says, “It’s about God, guns, gays, and green beans.” Additional information is available at jpatrickredmond.com.

Traditional Couples Only: No gays allowed?

No Gays AllowedThis letter of inquiry was sent on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 to all members of the Vincennes Community School Board, the principal of Vincennes Lincoln High School, as well as the high school newspaper and GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) sponsor. The principal forwarded his letter and concerns to the New Years Eve Ball committee chair.

A second copy of the letter was sent to the New Years Eve Ball committee at the request of the committee chair on Friday, October 10, 2014.

The committee is scheduled to meet on Sunday, October 12, 2014 to reconsider and vote on the “traditional couples only” policy. 

Dear Vincennes Community School Board Member:

The Friday, October 3, 2014 edition of The Old Post Sentinel, Vincennes Lincoln High School’s student newspaper, stated that one stipulation for attending this year’s New Years Eve Ball is that the “committee requires traditional couples only.” It is my understanding “traditional couples only” has been the norm since the New Years Eve Ball’s inception and is meant to exclude LGBT couples and/or students.

I understand the Vincennes Community School Corporation and Vincennes Lincoln High School are not affiliated with the New Years Eve Ball, that the dance is not school-sponsored. However, the committee members are comprised of Lincoln High School students and their parents.

My concern is that requiring “traditional couples only” for a dance sponsored by Lincoln High School students and their parents might create the potential for negative repercussions regarding the high school itself, the Vincennes Community School Corporation, and Vincennes. It happened in a neighboring community.

One must consider the public relations nightmare Sullivan High School experienced when a teacher with the system in February 2013 went on local television supporting “traditional couples only” for the local high school prom. Because of the perceived and undoubtedly precarious relationship between the New Years Eve Ball committee and Vincennes Lincoln High School it is necessary, I believe, to address the exclusionary “traditional couples only” stipulation for the student dance. Why not allow LGBT student couples to attend?

Yesterday, October 6, 2014, was a historic day in terms of the Supreme Court ruling ushering in marriage equality for the State of Indiana. It was also the 16th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s beating in Laramie, WY. Wouldn’t the New Years Eve Ball committee members, Lincoln High School students and their parents, be better served and serve better the community by presenting an opportunity for inclusion? If news outlets and media were to see another “traditional couples only” dance in southern Indiana—in a neighboring county to Sullivan High School no less—would the media make a distinction between a school sponsored and non-school sponsored dance? How might the media spin on a “private, invitation only” dance for “traditional couples only” potentially play out locally, regionally, or nationwide? How would Vincennes and the New Years Eve Ball committee comprised of Vincennes Lincoln High School students and parents be perceived?

Sullivan, Indiana and the teacher Diana Medley were labeled bigots and homophobes on a national scale—news articles written and preserved on the Internet—after Ms. Medley’s WTWO Channel 2 news interview. It concerns me to see, or even consider, the potential harm to local LGBT teens by incorporating such exclusionary practices or the public embarrassment created by our community hosting a “traditional couples only” student dance sponsored by Vincennes Lincoln High School students and their parents, and the potential for negative light to be shed upon my hometown and my alma mater.

Your time and consideration are greatly appreciated.

J. Patrick Redmond
Vincennes Lincoln High School, Class of 1987

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8 Comments on “Traditional Couples Only: No gays allowed?”

  1. Indybear October 13, 2014 at 8:32 am #

    Indiana – all the best the 1950’s can offer. Pathetic.

  2. ian October 13, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

    So, what did the committee say when they met on the 12th?

  3. guythall October 13, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    Sad, sad, sad. If the parents so strongly believe in this sad discrimination, will they continue hiding in the dark or show themselves.

  4. betsy stampe October 13, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

    Hey Redmond? Are you one of Charlie’s kids? I grew up in Vincennes and I’m appalled by this news. Who is in charge there? I’m hoping for a fair and just resolution to this situation. Your letter was very wise and thoughtful. I will be following this story. Best of luck in all of your enterprises.

    • Frank Michaels October 13, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

      Thanks for your article. I have sent the following to “vualumni@vinu.edu‌ and parents@vinu.edu

      Re: Discriminatory Lincoln High School New Year’s Dance at VU

      I am separately forwarding a copy of an article I’ve read about Vincennes University renting space to a committee from Lincoln High School for an “invitation only, traditional couples only” New Year’s Eve dance.
      I hold good memories of my time and classes at VU in the 1970s, but I am disappointed that, in the 21st century, the university would allow an intended discriminatory function to be held on campus. I can’t imagine that you would support racial discrimination in the use of your/our facilities.
      The facilities of the campus belong to the citizens of Indiana, despite religious affiliation or sexual orientation. I would expect the campus to learn from the recent decision of the US Supreme Court to allow Circuit Court decisions protecting the rights of gay men and lesbians to stand as a class against discrimination, including public accommodations.
      Please review this permission of use and reconsider your tacit support of discrimination.

      Frank Michaels

      • alegnasue October 14, 2014 at 9:30 am #

        While I agree with your idea and commend you for sending off this letter, this is a clear case of sexual orientation discrimination, not RACIAL discrimination.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. #ball4all: Indiana Parents Vote 'No Gays Allowed' for Students' New Years Eve Ball | J. Patrick Redmond - October 13, 2014

    […] asked them to review the New Years Eve Ball committee's exclusionary and discriminatory practices. (Read the letter here.) A copy was also sent to the New Years Eve Ball committee. The school board replied in a positive […]

  2. #ball4all: Indiana Parents Vote ‘No Gays Allowed’ for Students’ New Years Eve Ball,PrideNation Magazine - October 13, 2014

    […] them to review the New Years Eve Ball committee’s exclusionary and discriminatory practices. (Read the letter here.) A copy was also sent to the New Years Eve Ball committee. The school board replied in a positive […]

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