AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin High School is ending its tradition of crowning a homecoming king and queen after a lesbian couple called the practice discriminatory.
Seniors Cecilia McBride and her girlfriend Story Dornsife were both nominated by their classmates to the homecoming court last week. However, when McBride requested to be considered for king rather than queen so that she could walk with Dornsife if they won, she was told that wasn’t allowed.
“They said ‘we won’t do two queens, we won’t do two kings, it has to be a king and a queen,’ McBride said. “Because a king has to be male and a queen has to be female, it’s impossible for a gay couple to win.”
The couple, along with another lesbian couple also nominated, adamantly protested to Principal Amy Taylor who quickly helped develop plans for a more inclusive homecoming court.
“I basically told them right away, this isn’t okay,” McBride said. “I was almost in tears, I was furious.”
Under the new plan, the four seniors and two underclassmen in each grade with the highest vote total will be announced as part of homecoming royalty regardless of gender during the homecoming game on Oct. 11.
The change is earning praise from Austin’s LGBTQ community, which says it’s important for gay youth to feel included in rite of passage events like homecoming,
“To take a step back and evaluate a policy like this and then to change it, to accommodate where we’re at now, is the right move,” said Kathryn Gonzalez, the operations and programs director for Out Youth. “I think everyone deserves an equal experience.”
Yet not everyone agrees.
In a statement to KXAN News, Texas Values, an organization whose mission is to preserve and advance faith, family, and freedom in Texas, said, “It’s sad that a long-held tradition of simply honoring a girl and a boy for homecoming has been dethroned for the sake of political correctness.”
The new policy will apply to future homecomings at Austin High as well.
Austin ISD is not mandating a change district-wide, and is instead leaving the decision up to individual campuses.