Homecoming needs more opportunities for LGBT students

Homecoming is absolutely an integral part of the high school experience; crowning a king and queen has long been a coming-of-age right for teenagers. Unfortunately, with Carmel High’s current approach, the coronation cannot work for two kings or two queens.

The homecoming court nominations are divided into two ballots: boys and girls. This mandates that a same-sex couple can never win, effectively excluding about five percent of the population.

This does not mean that the court should be done away with completely, but it should give everyone a fair chance to be crowned. Right now, that chance is not given to LGBT students.

No one is saying that a same-sex couple should win the nomination every year, but just the opportunity of being nominated can give this underrepresented group a feeling of acceptance.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, just under half of LGBT students do not feel accepted in the community in which they live; if we as a school could do anything to decrease that number, we by all means should.

Making a change would not be anything extraordinary, as other schools are making similar decisions across the United States. One such example is San Diego State University where the titles King and Queen were changed to “Royals” in order to promote acceptance. A high school in Tallahassee named a lesbian couple prom royalty just last year.

CHS isn’t quite there yet. With the new voting system, we nominate four boys and four girls. Then we vote for one boy and one girl to win.

Some might point out that the new system of voting was established to discourage the pressure of voting for couples. This is true, but the titles still imply heteronormativity, and thus, alienate gay students.

This exclusion is a sizeable problem for gay teenagers. In a survey by the Human Rights Campaign, it was observed that 25 percent of LGBT students’ biggest problem is feeling accepted, comparable to the percentage of straight students whose biggest problem is grades.

Another problem occurs in deciding how exactly to reform the nomination system in order to be more accepting. Davis Senior High School elected a same-sex pair as homecoming princes almost a decade ago by holding a write-in nomination. This is not altogether dissimilar to the system in place at Carmel currently, but at DSHS the male and female votes were not segregated.

It seems that the way to solve this dilemma would be to reinstate the “couples” system of voting, giving the opportunity for everyone to win.

-Alex Poletti