For many high school students, prom season brings about excitement, happiness, and even a first taste of adulthood. For others, like Anais Celini, it's a time of discrimination, rejection, and frustration.
Celini is an 18-year-old senior at Martin Luther High School in Queens, N.Y. Earlier this week, she was informed that she would not be able to bring her boyfriend, Nathan Baez, to her school's prom, despite the fact that Baez graduated from the same school last year. But Baez happens to be transgender.
According to Celini, the school claimed that Baez’s transition was “unconventional” and “not beneficial.” Celini claims the decision is based on the school’s ban on same-sex couples, which is how the school apparently views the couple, in spite of Baez’s transgender history.
Baez, 19, expressed frustration over the decision, telling WPIX, “It’s hard because I really wanted her to be able to go to prom with her friends, and me as well, because it is one of the stepping stones of high school.”
“I don’t plan on asking them again," Celini told BuzzFeed. "I’m not going to fight them, that wasn’t the point. It’s a big night for everybody, and I don’t want to cause a scene.”
Both Celini and Baez were kicked out of their family homes last year after coming out. Celini says that she had hoped to cap last year’s challenges by celebrating prom together.
For his part, Baez is doing everything in his power to give Celini the special evening she had been hoping for. Baez is saving up money in an effort to fund a small celebration for he and his girlfriend of nearly two years. A local housing center has offered the couple use of their facilities to hold the event.
The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network has issued words of support for the couple and has launched an online campaign where members of the public can forward well-wishes.
Watch WPIX's interview with the couple below.