ACLU, Asians, Civil Rights, Lawsuit of the Day, Lesbians, Sex, Television

Lawsuit of the Day: Lesbians in the OC

Marissa Cooper Alex The OC girl girls lesbian kiss.jpgNo, we’re not talking about that time on “The OC” when Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton) shared a girl-on-girl kiss with Alex (Olivia Wilde). Rather, we’re referring to a civil rights case currently pending before Judge James Selna, in the Central District of California.
From the L.A. Times (via How Appealing):

Two high schoolers are caught kissing on campus.

Ordinarily, such an incident would garner little attention. But for Charlene Nguon, a smattering of kisses and hugs stolen after school and in between classes led to detention, suspensions, a transfer and a lawsuit.

The reason? That’s what a federal judge in Santa Ana will soon decide.

Nguon says it’s because she was kissing a girl. Ben Wolf, who was then principal of Garden Grove’s Santiago High School, says that’s not the case at all. He insists the problem was that, regardless of whether it was a girl or boy, Nguon continued the kissing despite repeated warnings to knock it off.

And that’s just the tip of this salaciously sapphic iceberg.
Check out the rest, after the jump.

Right now you’re probably wondering what the gravamen of Nguon’s suit is. The Times explains:

In her civil rights suit, Nguon is seeking $300,000 to $1.3 million in damages from Wolf and several Garden Grove Unified School District officials. She alleges that their actions caused her nearly straight-A grades to plummet and drove her into a depression so deep she began cutting herself and contemplated suicide.

The suit also seeks district policy changes that would prohibit administrators from revealing a student’s sexual orientation or selectively enforcing discipline on that basis. Nguon also wants all disciplinary measures expunged from her academic record.

Fair enough; these are serious claims. But proving them has required some unusual evidence:

[A] stream of recent high school grads and administrators have filed into U.S. District Judge James V. Selna’s courtroom. Students told of couples making out around the clock, but their elders said “the children” minded their manners and their superiors. At times, the testimony seemed straight out of sixth period: a football player and cheerleader spied kissing in the quad; Nguon’s salacious blog entry denouncing a classmate for an “annoying” voice and crybaby ways; a messy breakup, documented in an expletive-laden instant message chat.

A critical issue in the case was whether Nguon was truly a lesbian or simply “QHS” (“questioning her sexuality”):

Wolf testified that he “may have” told Nguon’s mother she’d been kissing a girl, but that if he did, it would not qualify as disclosing her sexual orientation….

During his closing argument, Wolf’s attorney, Dennis J. Walsh, said girls locking lips is a fad, pointing to the televised kiss between Britney Spears and Madonna.

True enough. Girl-on-girl action was trendy back then. But check out this rebuttal from Nguon’s counsel:

Stormer, Nguon’s other attorney, trotted out the infractions his client and her girlfriend allegedly committed: lying on a bench while French kissing, putting their hands up each other’s shirts and biting each other’s lips in the library….

“Did it ever cross your mind that they might be gay?” Stormer asked. No, Wolf testified.

This guy is even more dense than your typical high school administrator. To paraphrase the quote attributed to Roy Cohn in “Angels in America”: “Charlene Nguon isn’t a lesbian — she just has sex with women.”
But what we don’t understand is Principal Wolf’s horrified reaction to witnessing a lesbian kiss. If he were like any normal high school principal — i.e., weird and pervy — he’s just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Passion Fills O.C. Court in Trial Over Student Rights [Los Angeles Times via How Appealing]

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