Tennessee teen publicly ridiculed for prom dress gains widespread support, including celebrity shoutouts


FRANKLIN, Tenn. (NewsNation Now) — A Tennessee boy is getting national support after a video of him being ridiculed for wearing a dress to prom went viral.

High school senior Dalton Stevens said he wanted to make a statement by wearing the dress, but he didn’t expect the attention it would receive after cell phone video captured local CEO Sam Johnson harassing him while he was taking pictures with his boyfriend.

Stevens defended himself and said Johnson was acting “homophobic.” Johnson was fired from the telemedicine company VisuWell, with the company saying his comments don’t reflect their values.

“Slander terms thrown towards me of like ‘you look bad,’ ‘you’ve got hair on your chest, you shouldn’t be wearing a dress,’ ‘you’re not a man,’ blah, blah, blah,” Stevens told NewsNation affiliate WKRN. “The fact that he thought he had the audacity to come tell me what I was supposed to wear, and what I was supposed to do because of his standards.”

Stevens’ story has even captured the attention of celebrities like Kathy Griffin and Billy Porter.

Griffin expressed outrage over the situation by calling out CEO on Twitter, saying: “Gays, I will always have your back.”

Actor Billy Porter showed support for Stevens by posting a photo of himself on Twitter in a red dress using the hashtags #PromKing and #ManlyMan.

Stevens now wants to raise awareness and challenge gender norms when it comes to clothing.

“I think clothing should just be taken as a piece of cloth and nothing more,” he said. “Everybody should just wear what they want and shouldn’t be ashamed to wear anything because of societal standards.

NewsNation affiliate WKRN contributed to this report.

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