Kings and Queens

Oct. 10, 2010, 11:29 p.m.

Recently, several trans high school students have appeared in the news because they want to run for their high school’s homecoming court. Texas teenager Andy Moreno , who identifies as female but is biologically male, wants to run for homecoming queen, while Michigan teenager Oak Reed, a male-identified student, ran for homecoming king. Both stories feature principals who have barred them from the ballot because of the biological sex, as well as a supportive student body.

In the light of recent news on queer teen suicides, it’s good to see stories that see some LGBT kids thriving—especially students thriving in places like Texas and Michigan. I don’t think I could have run for homecoming king when I was in high school, at least. Oak Reed even has his own page on Facebook with over 12,300 followers—many from around the country, and even around the world. It’s pretty inspiring.

Seeing principals reject a student’s proposal to run simply because of their biological sex is pretty ridiculous to me. (And may also signal how obsolete the whole gendered homecoming court system is. Is it really a high school principal’s job to decide who’s “male” enough to run for king and who’s “female” enough to run for queen? But I digress.)

But although one part of me is going, “Sweet, good for them!” Another part of me is going, “Could this be some prank?” High school kids can be very mean sometimes. But regardless, I commend the bravery of these teens. Younger and younger, LGBT youth are coming out. Every fall when Homecoming season rolls around, there’s always some sort of controversy about gay couples running for homecoming court, but this is the first time I’ve heard of a trans teen running for homecoming court. These recent news stories show us some signs of light—places where queer teens can live as themselves, where they feel empowered enough to run for popularity positions like homecoming court.

Recent statistics read that 90 percent of LGBT teens suffer some sort of homophobia in high school. I hope these stories are a sign that things are turning around.

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