In recognition of its lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender student population, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Montgomery County, Maryland, will stop referring to the Homecoming King and Homecoming Queen and call them Homecoming Royalty.
Students in each grade will vote for two classmates of any sex or gender. The winners of the votes will get crowned at the school’s homecoming football game, as usual.
The students elected will be asked ahead of time whether they want to be referred to as king, queen, or royalty.
“It provides an opportunity for all students to be involved in something that was exclusionary,” says Student Government Association President Jacob Rains. “It’s really not our job…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 move toward a gender-neutral homecoming isn’t without controversy, though. One person commented on a post about it in Rains’ Instagram post, “Wow, this really makes sense? Really disappointed that students couldn’t vote on this or something.”
Some other students have argued that this move is catering to a very small segment of the school’s population and asked why a long-standing tradition needs to change.
On the other hand, most of the students who attended a town hall-style meeting at the high school seemed to support the move.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School is making strong efforts to be more inclusive of its transgender population, and has even opened gender-neutral bathrooms.
The school’s principal, Donna Redmond Jones, says she supports the effort. “What student leaders are doing is a step to help ensure that all students have a sense of belonging at B-CC,” she says.
The trend toward inclusiveness at B-CC began with a tragedy: Six years ago a transgender student who completed her transition from male to female committed suicide after years of being bullied and harassed at the school.
What do you think of the school’s decision to have a gender-neutral homecoming? Please share your thoughts in the comments.