Eaton Rapids High School Adopts Gender-Neutral Titles for Homecoming Royalty
As the world around us and the institutions we come into regular contact with try to become more inclusive, a decision made by the Eaton Rapids High School student council shows it starts with something as small as switching up those coveted Homecoming Court titles.
"To Queen or Not to Queen"
It's a trend that many schools around the country have been adopting, bucking "tradition" and everything you've seen in your typical tween movies for something that will make everyone feel included and possibly garner more participation when it comes to Homecoming events and the arbitrary titles that come with it.
According to the Lansing State Journal (LSJ), the Eaton Rapids High School student council decided on August 31st that this year's homecoming court will feature a student-elected, 14-member homecoming court. Eight "courtiers" will be from the senior class while each other grade will have two representatives. No kings or queens will be crowned.
"While gender inclusivity wasn’t the driving factor in the decision," LSJ reports. "It quickly became the focal point."
What Sparked The Decision
There are plenty of "traditions" that while they have always been regarded as "just what we do" and staples in our culture whether that's in the movies we watch, our expectations, etc. Homecoming king/queen is definitely one of those things, but it is also the source of some exclusion, sometimes even bullying, and students all over the country are participating less and less.
That's at least what Eaton Rapids High School noticed as Ryan Anderson, faculty adviser for the student council, told LSJ.
Anderson said participation in voting for who would be crowned homecoming king and queen in 2018 and 2019 was less than 40 percent and even less than that actually submitted nominations.
Basically, the students have spoken through their actions that they don't care as much as some may think.
While LSJ reports more schools are also bucking the tradition, they cite examples of criticism "as a popularity contest" as well as "failing to account for same-sex couples."
Anderson also provided the example of a situation in recent years where there was friction over one part of a student couple making it onto court while the other didn't...a situation we probably all also have an example of.
At the end of the day, in an effort to increase participation and adapt traditions to make everyone feel welcome and celebrated (isn't the whole point of homecoming to bring people together?)
Some Want to Stick to Tradition
Of course, like any issue that has to do with flipping the script on tradition and gender norms, there are people on the other side of it who are not pleased with the school.
According to Lansing State Journal, after the decision was announced, there was an anonymous petition making the rounds that garnered more than 600 signatures, wanting to reverse the decision...with some spouting off their opinions.
At the end of the day, it makes me laugh that people are so worked up over something the students have proven they don't really care about and the student council, elected to represent them, made the decision to represent their peers. It just seems to me like people are just looking at the fact that gender inclusivity is just a PIECE of the bigger picture here and are flying off the handle.
Honestly, have you ever seen someone become successful in life solely because of being given a crown at a high school football game?
This is not diminish or rip on anyone who was bestowed that honor, I was on my high school's homecoming court my sophomore year, I get it's fun. In the grand scheme of things, though, how much does it REALLY matter?
If you are looking forward to all the homecoming fun in Eaton Rapids, WILX reports the festivities kick off next week on Friday, September 17th.
KEEP LOOKING: Here are 33 LGBTQ+ charities that need your donation
LOOK: Here are the best small towns to live in across America