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Students elect non-gender conforming "royalty" for homecoming

Photo credit:
Emmett Campbell

White Station High School in Memphis (WSHS), Tennessee, has bestowed a crown to a member of their homecoming court. Winners are no longer called "king" or "queen," they are instead called "royalty." 

Brandon Allen was coronated this past Friday. Pictures of his chosen regalia, including a long golden gown and diamond-crusted tiara have since gone viral.

His once-in-a-lifetime win was posted on the school's Facebook page and Twitter feed; it has accrued thousands of likes.  

"It's the students' choice of who they want to support as homecoming royalty," said school principal Carrye Holland. "I'm exceedingly proud to be the principal of our amazing school. WSHS loves and supports everyone regardless of who they are or what they believe."

Allen encourages people to be themselves even in the face of adversity. 

“Don’t try to hide yourself all because some people might not accept you," Allen said. "Trust and believe me there are going to be people who don’t accept you, and you've got to be like, 'I don’t care. I’m going to do me. I’m going to be myself, truly and unapologetically."

Joris M. Ray, superintendent of Shelby County Schools in Memphis says picking a member of the court is purely democratic. 

    "The District is committed to ensuring a positive and respectful school environment where everyone is treated with dignity," said Ray. "Homecoming queen and king is a tradition based 100 percent on student votes. As Superintendent, I support student voice and expression."

    Allen admits that he took the opportunity to express himself because that's who he is as a person. 

    “I felt like I wasn’t taking a risk," he said. "I was just doing what I do best and do what I want to do.”