Alex Blaze

High School Goes Gender-Neutral for Prom

Filed By Alex Blaze | February 15, 2011 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Transgender & Intersex
Tags: ACLU, election campaigns, oak reed, prom king, school, transgender

In September I posted about Oak Reed, a trans boy who ran for homecoming king but was disqualified because he would render the competition unfair (since the race for homecoming king is, first and foremost, about fairness). Now the school has decided to just get rid of the concept of prom queen and king:

Oak.jpgThe juniors and seniors will vote on a gender-neutral prom court this spring. The policy will stand for future homecoming events, as well. There will be two juniors and two seniors on the courts; the sex of the students won't be considered.

"I'm so glad that the rules have been changed," Reed said in a news release from the ACLU. "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."

There were kings and queens for homecoming and prom at my high school, but I never cared enough to know who won. I was at senior prom, though, where they were announced, and for the first time I forced to hear who had won. I remember looking at my friends and saying, "Who's that?" before we all started laughing - it was too ridiculous to even be a popularity contest. It was a big school.

Gender-neutrality isn't really a solution for the problem here - Oak is a guy and identified as such - but it's even better and gets rid of the subtle implication of assumed heterosexuality and that every high school student will identify as either a boy or a girl.

The next step is to get rid of these silly contests. In the words of Miss Hoover: I question the educational value of this activity.

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The problem with this solution is the trans student (and his supporters) are going to be blamed by those who are still supporting the "court" system. Yes, I agree, I can't stand courts at events like this, but really, the problem was with the principal and the school administration refusing to accept the student's choice of Oak as Prom King. That's what should be dealt with first instead of trying to make global changes. If the students ultimately decide they don't like the court system, then that should be accomplished separate from this incident and I would hope it would be decided on by the students, who are the ones who are supposed to be organizing the prom.