The story of brave Mississippi lesbian high school student Constance McMillen, who successfully sued the local school district for discrimination when she was banned from her prom, – will become a TV movie for ABC Family, Deadline Hollywood reports.
The project is in early stages of development and is from producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Hairspray, Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story) and Sony Pictures TV who have optioned the rights to McMillen’s story.
Ghost Whisperer creator and executive producer John Gray will write the script and is expected to direct.
With that talent aboard, it should be a good movie. The story has a strong heroine in Constance but the villains in her town are many: Her Mississippi school decided to cancel the prom for everyone rather than have a lesbian couple on the dance floor. Then parents threw a private prom and did not include Constance.
But Constance has the last laugh. Her case quickly drew nationwide attention and she ended up receiving a $30,000 scholarship from Ellen DeGeneres, serving as a grand marshal for New York’s Gay Pride Parade, and was personally asked by Wanda Sykes to present her GLAAD Award.
The teen also attending a reception at the White House hosted by President Barack Obama and recently won a $35,000 settlement in the lawsuit against her school district, with the district agreeing to follow a non-discrimination policy.
I spoke with Constance at the GLAAD Media Awards earlier this year. Here is an excerpt:
Q. Has the way that you’ve been embraced outweighed the way the people have acted in your home town?
A. “Definitely. I have had way more support. My hometown is horrible – the [lack of] support that they’ve shown is horrible. But from across the world, it’s absolutely amazing how much support I’ve had. That’s really what keeps me going.”
Q. Where did you get the guts to stand up this way?
A. “My family has always taught me to stand up for what I believe in. If I feel in my heart that something’s right, then that’s what I’m gonna do and if I feel that something is wrong, then I’m going to stand up against it. That’s what I’ve tried to do from the git-go.”
Q. Do you plan to continue to be an activist?
A. “I hope to be an activist because I think it’s important to make change and I realize how important it is to make change for other people.”
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