Genderless homecoming royalty: A timid first step

GBHS’s student government is attempting to make this year’s homecoming more inclusive. Unfortunately, there have been mixed results and reactions.


Lee Randolph

Gender nonconforming individuals can feel uncomfortable with traditional titles like “king” or “queen.”

The past year and half was spent in lockdown for everyone at Granite Bay High School. Now as students return to school many are excited to go back to their old traditions like homecoming, but this year homecoming is different. 

In the past non-binary and gender nonconforming students have been unable to participate in homecoming royalty because of rigid gender norms. 2021 marks the 25th anniversary of the school as well as Student Government’s first attempt to change this tradition. 

Stephanie Coday, a Queer Studies professor at Sierra College explains why students need to feel seen in their schools. “School should…be a place of belonging, acceptance, community, safety and inclusion as this is truly the only way students can learn,” Coday said.

Student Government has taken up the challenge of trying to keep Granite Bay a welcoming environment for all students.

“We are trying to make it more gender inclusive. We’re moving towards changing our royalty court from king and queen and prince and princesses to having gender nonspecific,” junior and homecoming royalty commissioner Elle Brommeland said. 

Brommeland says she wants to “[make] sure our royalty court feels comfortable with what we are calling them.”

Since this change wasn’t broadcasted to the student body, many transgender and gender non-conforming students felt uneasy participating because they didn’t know the change had occurred. 

Ziring is a gender non-conforming student who wanted to run for homecoming royalty during their senior year, but was unaware of the gender inclusive change. 

“(Student Government) wasn’t very open about it…it still felt very king or queen especially…on the ballot,” Ziring said.

Ziring wanted to run for royalty but didn’t feel like there was a title matching their gender identity.

“I didn’t feel quite comfortable running as queen,” Ziring said.

Non-binary students feel uncomfortable confining to king or queen titles because they aren’t men or women. People who identify under the gender non-conforming umbrella usually feel a complete lack of gender or like they are both men and women. 

Someone who feels like both, neither or some combination of genders can’t simply choose between king or queen. 

According to GLSEN, 31.3% of LGBTQ+ students avoid school dances or games frequently or often because they feel unsafe or uncomfortable at these events. 

“We should be encouraging students to be their best selves – to arrive at their full unique and individual authentic selves,” Coday said.