RRHS almost had a gender neutral homecoming

This year the student council attempted to make homecoming court gender neutral, in hopes of being more inclusive of the whole student body. They decided to take the first steps: brainstorming, planning, meeting with the administrators and principal.

The project fell through, and now they are making a survey to be sent out to students sometime this semester. From there, they will decide how to implement the change next year.

The plan is that the titles of king and queen would be changed to majesties, and the duke/duchess switched to royalties. The exact system is still in progress, but their best/main idea is to keep the voting process the same: two people elected from each organization, two categories to vote for majesties. 

“What I am wanting is for everyone to be a part of something bigger- whether that’s changing the title or the system to be more inclusive,” Principal Matt Groff said. “I don’t get too hung up on the title stuff.”

Student council members said they believe change like this is a step in the right direction in including the whole student body in school events, specifically nonbinary students.

“I think collectively we don’t really consider the influences gendered terms can have on people of all different identities,” Student body at large representative Niranjana Nair said. “So if you’re nonbinary and don’t identify with one of the gender binaries, that can be very exclusive. Something as simple as just changing a name can really make a huge step to saying that this is open to everyone and we want everyone here to feel comfortable and included, and they have this possibility in achieving that designation.”

There is a concern among administrators that a court could be unevenly gendered– a majority of boys on the court or majority of girls on the court for example. This is something that the council is working to address. A system that prevents a one gender majority and is gender neutral brings more challenges, and may be impractical to implement. Again, the exact system that would replace the current is still in the works, but as of now student council wants to prioritize inclusivity and let the student body vote for whoever they believe deserves the title.

“At the end of the day the student body is voting for who they want on court, and if there’s a majority female court for example there’s really nothing we can do about it because the student body voted on it,” student body president Quan Dau said. 

The council had meetings and conversations with the principal and administrators, but the idea was rejected because there are more channels to go through and more planning involved than the council had first anticipated. They didn’t explicitly communicate with principal groff until later because student council functions separately from administration.

“So we just do homecoming and do the traditions that we’ve always done. It wasn’t a huge concern for us at first, it didn’t click in our heads that this should be something that maybe we should go more slowly about,” Nair said. “But after our conversation with Mr Groff, we realized that there might be more steps to it and have more community involvement with this decision. Those are the concerns that he brought up.”

Now, the student council is making a survey where students can vote about what they think of changing homecoming king/queen titles. Alongside the survey student council is making a document full of resources relating to other schools who made homecoming gender neutral and how they did it, why this type of change matters to nonbinary students, and so on. 

“We want to make sure that all of the context for why we want this change to be happening is all there,” Nair said. “We’re going to include a resource document as well, for people if they want to see other schools that have done this, or understand more about why there’s a need to have gender inclusive language, resources like that. Those are all things we wanted to incorporate with the survey, so there’s a lot of things to go for.”