As promised in passing here, it’s time for a #ThrowbackThursday follow-up to something I’ve discussed during the past year on here. Here’s how the setup will go for the most part: I’ll link back to the original post, probably feature a snippet or two from said post, and add an update or new comments on the subject. And the subject this time around is “gender-neutral homecoming.” If you recall a post from last month, Madison West High School did away with gender-specific titles for its homecoming court and went with what some billed as “Regent Royalty.” Here’s how I described it:
It will go like this: In prior years, Madison West’s homecoming court consisted of 10 boys and 10 girls, with a king and queen selected among them. Next week, however, the court will include the top 20 vote-getters among the senior class. The top two among that twenty, regardless of the gender they present themselves as, will be elevated to homecoming royalty. Those two will only be called “king” or “queen” if they choose those titles.
Actually, the Madison West website described the homecoming process much better than I did. So how did it go on October 16? Well, as this TV report had it, the court crowning (or whatever you want to call it) was unveiled through a little bit of play acting, including skits featuring duos of various characters, among them what looks like a recreation of either Shrek or The Incredible Hulk. As the report also suggests, there may have been a tie-breaker, which was decided by… wait for it… a dance-off!
So it looks like it was a fun time for all at Madison West’s homecoming, which means it didn’t matter who won… although the top two are interviewed (their names are Nanceny Fanny and Magnus Arney). Even better, it’s reinforces the welcoming, inclusive, and supportive atmosphere the administration and students of Madison West are trying to engender. Hopefully, this new tradition will continue in years to come, and serve as a legacy of a West student who was a driving force behind the change, Skylar Lee, who sadly succumbed to his battle with depression in September and did not live to see this homecoming.
Oh, by the way, I also mentioned that gender-neutral homecoming hit the college level in Wisconsin as well. One week before Madison West had their homecoming to-do, The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire had their own homecoming; and just as with the Regents at West, UW-EC also selected their homecoming royalty regardless of gender for the first time. The winners there were Rachel Iaquinta and Pete Winslow, and as the photo in this article suggests, they had a very happy time as well.
I want to highlight some quotes quotes regarding UW-EC’s homecoming. One came from Rachel Iaquinta herself, who was so excited about the school’s move toward “a more inclusive environment,” and told its official student newspaper, “My gender identity should not have to define my self-worth or capabilities as an individual.” (With words like those, I bet she’ll go far in life.) Another quote came from Sam Owens, a junior at UW-EC, who expressed this before the election: “What good is it to change… something if it doesn’t change the attitudes behind it?” Sam’s is a belief and hope that so much can still be done at UW-EC to help dispel the time-bound traditions of gender roles on the campus.