Over the last few years, attention has been brought to a number of cases where transgender high school students were elected for Homecoming King or Queen but not allowed to claim their title because of their gender identity. Via the Advocate, we find a Michigan high school has decided to eliminate the titles altogether:
In an attempt to be more inclusive of its entire student body, administrators of a Michigan high school have decided to drop “king” and “queen” from its homecoming royalty titles, opting instead for gender-neutral titles.
Transgender student Oak Reed (pictured) was elected homecoming king in September 2010, but the school denied him his crown because he was officially enrolled as female at Mona Shores High School in Muskegon, Mich. Soon after the decision made headlines across the country, administrators including superintendent Terry Babbitt started discussing, with colleagues and students, how to make a more inclusive homecoming court, according to the Muskegon Chronicle.
While one commenter at The Advocate asked the same question I thought initially: wouldn’t it have been better to allow Oak to be Homecoming King and make a statement of support for his gender identity as opposed to just removing the title altogether? But I also agree with advocacy groups welcoming the removal of the titles as a step forward — particularly for genderqueer and other gender-nonconforming students.
And Reed is happy with the decision: “I’m so glad that the rules have been changed [...] All I wanted was a chance for all students to participate and be heard. Now my classmates and I can just focus on having a great time at our school dance.”