First it was bathrooms, and now the ages-old tradition of homecoming king and queen is being shoved aside for a new gender-neutral “royalty” program.
The University of Wisconsin-Stout has announced that their homecoming celebration on Saturday, October 8 will not include the traditional crowning of the homecoming king and queen, for the first time in almost 80 years.
Instead, they will select eight students for the “Stout Ambassadors Spirit Award” at a ceremony Friday evening.
Emily Ascher, campus activities coordinator, said the new royalty program “provides an opportunity to recognize more students who can have a more meaningful role as ambassadors and not be bound by gender restrictions. All of our students have the capacity to strongly and proudly serve as representatives of campus. Restricting that role to a gender specific pair limits opportunities, both for our students and program as a whole.”
The “ambassadors” will have expanded roles on campus, including being required to attend special events and have a “special breakfast” as a group with the chancellor during the year.
The Washington Post reported that a Maryland high school is also going gender-neutral for homecoming. Each grade at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School will vote for two classmates as candidates, and the final two students crowned during halftime may be two boys or two girls, transgender students, or a boy and a girl.
Jacob Rains, president of the Student Government Association, said, “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?”
Officers of the student government voted to implement the change, but not all 2,000 students are happy about it, asking why they couldn’t have all voted on the issue?
The new “royalty” winners will be asked ahead of time how they want to be identified – as royalty, or as king or queen.
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