Maryland high school makes homecoming court gender neutral, throwing out “king” and “queen”
In case recent events have got you concerned our nation is headed toward the apocalypse, here is a comforting reminder that young people are the future and they’re steering us in the right direction: Maryland’s Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School voted in favor of a gender-neutral homecoming, because why should our culture’s dated, cis-normative standards dictate who gets to be royalty? Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School’s Student Government Association voted 4–1 to allow students to vote for two people, regardless of their gender, to join homecoming court.
The school’s student government president, Jacob Rains, put it best when he 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?” Rains noted that this new policy “provides an opportunity for all students to be involved in something that was exclusionary.”
Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School principal Donna Redmond told The Post she regards the new policy as an important “step to help ensure that all students have a sense of belonging at B-CC.”
The school voted on this move toward inclusiveness at a time of increasing contentiousness regarding laws denying transgender students the right to use public bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
In Wisconsin, Ash Whitaker, a transgender honors student at Kenosha’s George Nelson Tremper High School, fought for and won the right to run for his school’s homecoming court, and as of July, wound up suing for the right to use the restroom corresponding with his gender identity.
He told The Washington Post earlier this year: “[T]he school administrators have made my life miserable every school day since this spring, when they told me I could no longer use the boys’ restrooms, which I’d been using with the support of my classmates for months. I worry about how I’m going to navigate the demands of senior year if I can’t even go to the bathroom without worrying that I’m being watched.”
Discriminatory policies only serve to degrade and expose transgender individuals to harassment, abuse, and anxiety, which they shouldn’t have to deal with anywhere, frankly, but least of all at any school that claims to oppose bullying and take mental health issues seriously.
In addition to making its homecoming an affair for individuals of all gender identities, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School announced the opening of a new gender-neutral bathroom on campus the same day it introduced its new homecoming policy.