Nasir Fleming is a seventeen-year-old senior at Danbury High School, in Connecticut, and is also openly gay. Still it must have been a surprise when his classmates nominated him for Prom King and Prom Queen.
But he was fine with that because he’s known he was gay, and has been out, since he was twelve, and has suffered bullying through the years for simply being Nasir Fleming. He saw his dual nominations as a way to send a message about the ‘absurdity of gender labeling, the toxicity of discrimination and the importance of being yourself.’
So, he accepted the nomination to be Prom Queen, though he wasn’t expecting to win, but when he did, his peers greeted his win with applause and cheers.
All well and good you know; he made a point that gender really shouldn’t matter, it’s the kind of person you are that makes the difference, not orientation, or color, or heritage or age or weight or height or hair color.
But, for me, Nasir isn’t Prom Queen, he’s Prom Hero. See, he’d been nominated for king last year, and when the nomination came again he wasn’t surprised. The queen nomination, however, was a surpise and he wondered if it was all some kind of joke about his sexuality, but he finally decided that didn’t even matter.
"Either way, I'm still fabulous."
And he is, because he stood up for himself, and for other LGBTQ youth who can’t stand up, yet, for themselves, and decided that, while he identifies as a gay male, this win would be a positive statement about Transphobia.
"As gay people, more or less, are becoming accepted in society, transgendered people are still discriminated against severely. If I can win a title that is outside of my gender, there is no reason why a trans-person should have any problems winning titles in his/her gender. Stop the hate, start the love."
Sadly, though, as happens every time someone steps up for someone else, or even for themselves, there has been some hate. He was accused of mocking the prom tradition, though all he did was accept a nomination and then win by a vote, and his selection as prom queen has been called “disgusting” by some.
Even more sadly, in my mind, the gay community has had some negative things to say about his crowning, saying it reinforces negative stereotypes. Funny, I see it as saying we can all be whatever we want to be, and our gender, gender identity, sexual orientation shouldn’t matter.
Nasir hopes his short time in this particular spotlight will help parents understand that children should be taught compassion, not hate, by their parents.
"We need to push past tolerance and start having acceptance."
Like I said, Prom Hero.