A high school in Memphis, Tennessee, crowned a male homecoming “queen” on Friday night after doing away with the traditional gendered title.
White Station High School this year replaced the roles of homecoming queen and king with the gender-neutral appellation “homecoming royalty.” The school later posted a photo of senior Brandon Allen winning the honor in a gold sequined gown and congratulated him on the win.
The school’s posts were widely shared on Twitter and Facebook, triggering both backlash and praise. CBS News aired a story about the moment.
Principal Carrye Holland came to Allen’s defense in the Facebook comments.
“Here’s the thing: it’s Brandon’s right to run for homecoming court under Title IX. It’s the students’ choice of who they want to support as homecoming royalty,” she said.
“I’m exceedingly proud to be the principal of our amazing school,” she added. “You don’t have to agree but disrespectful comments will be deleted. WSHS loves and supports everyone regardless of who they are or what they believe. Thank you for the love and light from so many of you.”
Joris Ray, the superintendent of Memphis’ Shelby County Schools, suggested Allen’s gender-bending was a matter of “student voice and expression.
…based 100 percent on student votes. As Superintendent, I support student voice and expression.
— Dr. Joris M. Ray (@SCSSuptRay) September 29, 2019
Brandon Allen and the youth of America
Allen — who is gay and considers himself the “Queen of Extra” — told HuffPost that he wore the gown because he truly believes he is royalty.
“So I want to rock a dress and look like a queen,” he explained.
Of the negative reactions, he said: “I don’t really care.”
Allen’s also offered a message to other students: “Don’t you dare ever change yourself for anyone else but you! You are beautiful you are unique and you’re special. Don’t ever second guess your existence or feelings for a second.”
“Creatable World™ gives kids a blank canvas to create their own characters,” Mattel’s website says. “Switch long hair for short hair—add a skirt, pants or both. It’s up to you! Mix and match, swap or share.”