The typical homecoming celebration at a U.S. high school goes a little something like this: A male “king” and female “queen” are crowned by their classmates each fall, and they’re joined in the event by runners-up who are elected to the “court.” This is the way it’s been done at most schools for decades, but one Maryland high school is ready to change that in favor of a more inclusive way of celebrating.
In a 4 to 1 vote, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School’s student government chose to crown a gender-neutral court at their October 7 homecoming game. In the days leading up to the game, students in each grade will vote for two peers from a group of finalists. The two who receive the most votes—no matter what their gender is—will be crowned.
“It provides an opportunity for all students to be involved in something that was [previously] exclusionary,” Jacob Rains, president of the school’s Student Government Association, told the Washington Post. “It is really not our job, especially with a gender-neutral and transgender population at B-CC, to tell people that boys have to be kings and girls have to be queens. Who are we to put people into those categories?”
The decision came as the student government considered ways in which they could be more inclusive earlier this year. A profile of a transgender classmate in B-CC’s student newspaper last year inspired some kids to make changes, and homecoming felt like a great place to start. “It just felt like this was the right time to do this,” Rains told the Post. “We looked closely and decided, ‘Hey, this is a problem with the current system, and we should go and solve it.’”
Homecoming isn’t the only step forward worth celebrating in the area. B-CC has also opened their first gender-neutral bathroom, and many schools in B-CC’s Montgomery County are also reconsidering how graduation robes are assigned. (Instead of boys wearing one robe color and girls wearing another, several Montgomery schools are assigning all students the same robe color.)
It’s great to see schools like those in Montgomery County aiming to create a more inclusive experience for all students. Each step forward is worth celebrating. Props to B-CC and other Montgomery County schools for making a difference.
SELF – Culture