CON gender-neutral homecoming

By Jared Debban, Sports Editor

The long awaited announcement; the students had a feeling of what was coming and that was the mood coming into the assembly. The students filed in, some excited, some annoyed. A change to the homecoming court was met with some applause and boos as the names were called to announce those selected to this year’s court.


The homecoming court needs to maintain its traditional ways, representing each grade with one girl and one guy on the court, not the gender neutral royalty of this year.


Students are the main focus in the school and the reason that teachers and administrators work here, yet they neglected to inform us of a change that impacts us all. Students only found out that there was going to be a change to the homecoming court by word of mouth. No explanation was provided by the leadership students which left the student body wondering why and how. If the students vote for gender neutral homecoming then that’s what it will be, but I just don’t think that’s the case. If everyone were to vote, I think that the majority would go to traditional values and keeping things the same. The students need a voice and until that happens this homecoming court has not been fair to the whole student body.


“Two to three years of planning with different groups of students went into this before voting was opened up,” leadership advisor Jesse Abell said. This process has been long and tedious to get things changed for a small minority within Tigard High School. Students within leadership were concerned that not everyone within the school was being represented. Leadership has worked for the past two years trying to bring gender neutral homecoming to the student body, but it felt as though leadership was trying for something new without any influence from the student body. A vote about this change in format was not offered to students because leadership thought it would be nearly impossible to inform all of the students.


One way to go about change is being open with administration and expressing concern about the changes brought up without any student input. Our goal as a student body is to work together and come together on issues such as a gender neutral homecoming. Discussions before and after need to happen and change can’t be so sudden. “The student body needs to vote for the two people that they want to represent their class at the dance,” Principal Andy Van Fleet said. “A school that has taken away the court altogether is Hillsboro High, while other schools have talked about a change to the court as well.” But we shouldn’t follow what’s popular in today’s culture. Tigard should do what makes sense for the majority of its students.


There has been a gap from administration and leadership to the student body. So many students disagree with the change but how many are willing to stand up and say something? Students don’t want to get called out by people who disagree. “Other students will get offended and overreact when you disagree with their opinion so it’s hard to stand up to them and it’s just not worth causing problems,” sophomore Jacob Theodoroff said. A number of students were afraid to talk to me for this article for fear they would get hated or accused of being homophobic because they preferred a traditional homecoming court.


The purpose of the traditional homecoming isn’t meant to exclude anyone, it is supposed to include the whole student body, electing one girl and one guy represents everyone and not just a select portion of the grade. With this change we have not only changed the tradition of the court, but we are now excluding even more people. Allowing two girls or two guys to both be in the court in one grade completely excludes either all of the girls or all of the guys in the grade. Half of a class has been excluded in this situation.This is exactly the opposite of what is supposed to happen. When we begin focusing on a small minority within the school, we exclude almost all of the student body which is the greater majority in this case.


This decision should not have been reached with such a select group of people. Give us, the entire student body, the information we need to know such as — “we are removing titles”; “we are trying to be more inclusive”; “we want everyone to feel safe.” Then let us vote. At the end of the day, if the majority of students vote for change and to remove homecoming titles, then that’s the right thing to do. But until that happens this change hasn’t been the right thing to do. Not one student that has a different opinion about this has been given a chance to speak. They are immediately criticized for not being “all inclusive”.


This change hasn’t been beneficial to the student body. The goal of the homecoming queen and king is not meant to offend anyone. These titles aren’t put in place to bring someone down; these titles are there to bring people up as reigning royalty. These students elected by their peers will remember their homecoming forever. They will remember being nominated and put on the court, but will they really enjoy being remembered as the court instead of a prince and princess or king and queen? This title is important to maintain since it brings distinct recognition to those students while keeping the tradition alive. Without a king and queen or prince and princess, this tradition is not so royal.