A student in Nashville, Tennessee was denied entry to their senior prom for not wearing a dress. The community responded by giving them "the ultimate prom" of their own.
B Hayes—who uses the pronouns they/he—posted a photo on Instagram showing them wearing a suit outside the prom venue holding a sign that read:
"They wouldn't let me in because I'm in a suit."
In the caption, Hayes explained:
"My name is B Hayes. I'm 18 years old and 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?"
You can view the post below.
Country music star and hard-hitting LGBTQ+ ally and advocate Maren Morris commented on the post:
"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?"
Others also expressed their disappointment in the school's actions.
Hayes' post quickly went viral, and the masses flooded Twitter with their opinions.
Nashville Christian School told NPR "it 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."
"[Our] expectations regarding appropriate prom attire were communicated to this student and the student's family in advance of the prom."
"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."
Given this information, a few on social media sided with the school's decision.
Others noted the suit was very modest while other dresses in the photo were quite revealing.
As the story continued to spread, many learning of the story wanted to step in and take action.
Local business owner Marcie Allen Van Mol learned about the incident through social media and wanted to do something, so she and her husband Derek, who own the Nashville music venue and event space AB Hillsboro Village, offered to throw Hayes their very own prom to enjoy with 25 of their friends.
Van Mol shared:
“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."
Other local businesses follow suit, and soon the prom was promised a photo booth, flowers and even live music courtesy of Tone Stith.
Allison Holley, another local business owner, started a GoFundMe campaign for the prom to ensure the contributing businesses won't lose money and all expenses will be covered.
The GoFundMe page reads:
"I, Allison, am helping Marcie & Derrick of [AB] Hillsboro Village throw this event. The money donated will be used to throw the best prom ever."
"We are making sure the small businesses who help don't lose money & expenses are covered but we aren't paying out any profits. Nobody will profit from this event."
"It is strictly to throw the best prom for B & then support their favorite local charities. All additional funds donated [will] be split between Oasis Center & Inclusion TN (selected by B Hayes)."
People on social media—especially locals—were blown away by the generosity of the business owners and were also elated that Hayes will get their prom after all.
So far, nearly $29,000 has been raised through the GoFundMe, already surpassing its goal of $25k.
Hayes texted a statement to NPR:
"I greatly appreciate the support from my city and my community. The love I have been shown by my friends and family will not be taken lightly."
"I just ask that during this time I have the privacy to enjoy the rest of my senior year."
"I would also like for this attention to shift towards those who have experienced similar situations, 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. Thank you all so much for the love you show me!"