It’s only October, but students are already talking about prom at Royal West Academy in Montreal West.
In 2002, Marc Hall took the Ontario Catholic School Board to court for the right to bring his boyfriend to prom.
Now, 14 years later, he visited the school to talk about his story being turned into a musical.
His struggle has not only sparked the musical, but a documentary and a television movie.
On Wednesday, he took some time to speak to students about his fight for gay rights.
“My religion teachers were actually very liberal in their teaching, you know. They talked about being open, inclusive, so I didn’t realize that was going to be that big of a deal,” Hall said.
At the brink of graduation, Hall was forbidden to take his boyfriend to prom, sparking a media frenzy across the country – even making international waves.
Hall said he shared his story so teens can know they have the right to be themselves.
“Knowing that you should stand up for yourself, that you shouldn’t tolerate discrimination,” Hall said to the crowd.
“When you look at it, all you could see was this lineup of cameras, reporters lining up everywhere, satellite vans in the back driving around and, to be honest, I was completely terrified.”
After winning his case, it could be said that Hall became one of the faces of gay equality.
“A lot of people started approaching me saying that my story was giving them strength, that it was helping them get through things that they were going through themselves, struggling with their identities and things like that,” Hall told Global News.
“When I started getting those messages, I kind of realized that I was fighting for more than just myself, that I was fighting for a community.”
The message hit home for many students at Royal West.
“Since prom is coming up, I feel like it really hits home,” said Justin Sackner, a Grade 11 student.
“I always dreamed of going to prom with a guy I was in a relationship with and it just shows I can actually do it and I won’t necessarily be judged for it.”
“I thought it was so inspiring,” Jennifer Lynch, another Grade 11 student.
“It almost brought me to tears and it just shows us that we can make a difference.”
The Segal Centre has made a limited number of tickets available for Thursday’s show as a special fundraiser for Royal West.