Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: TwitteR, @sedgwick_justin
The mother of a teenager who came out publicly as gay last month by wearing a dress to his prom has criticised social networking site LinkedIn for deleting her post about the occasion.
Justin Sedgwick, who has autism, planned his coming out for a year before stepping out in his stunning black gown at the Solent Hotel and Spa in Hampshire on Thursday 22 July 2021.
The 16-year-old's mother Jade Scotney said other attendees of the Fareham Academy prom were supportive of Justin's decision. That support, however, hasn't fully translated to the online realm.
"My profile had been blocked"
Discussing LinkedIn deleting her post following complaints from other users, Scotney said (as per Metro): "[...] adults online are getting offended by it and reporting the post and getting it shut down. I posted that evening before we went and by the next morning, I noticed it had been removed and my profile had been blocked. They (LinkedIn) have apologised now, but they have not said why they took the post down."
Sedgwick, who came out as gay to his family last year, added: "I was disappointed when I heard it was taken down, just because someone doesn’t like it doesn’t mean that no one should see it. People need to accept it, whether they like it or not."
At my prom night! Extremely fucking nervous about the dress (and also loud music and crowds) but holy shit everyone is complimenting me I am extremely happy pic.twitter.com/CyFg36LStO— Justin Sedgwick (@sedgwick_justin) July 22, 2021
He added: "It was around about this time last year that I started getting into cross-dressing because I thought it was fun. And when it came to my prom, I thought: 'I’m just going to wear a dress.' I thought it would be great to show everyone that I can do that and show that I’m not afraid of being myself."
A LinkedIn spokesperson has since said: "We absolutely agree that diversity and inclusion should be embraced and encouraged, and we continue to work each day to make LinkedIn an inclusive and safe platform for everyone."
In a direct reply to Scotney, a rep reportedly said: "This was our mistake – your post shouldn’t have been taken down and your post shouldn’t have been restricted.
"We’re very sorry for these mistakes and are happy to see you celebrating Justin at prom. We are so glad he had a great night."