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Some good news on the LGBT front
September 30, 2010 11:09 AM   Subscribe

Oak Reed was a write-in candidate for homecoming king who won with a majority of the votes. The school administration took away his crown, saying that since Oak is biologically female, he isn't eligible to win the title. Well, his classmates didn't like that.
posted by domo (86 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
sounds like the school itself generated precedent for the student to be homecoming king by allowing him to wear a men's tuxedo for band and using masculine pronouns to refer to him.
posted by toodleydoodley at 11:16 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hear that, homophobes? All that rage and hate you have stored up is for nothing because your kids just don't give a fuck. Your day in the sun is fading. Don't even think about your grandkids' attitudes.
posted by sugarfish at 11:16 AM on September 30, 2010 [108 favorites]


Wait, wait, wait.

In what alternate universe do high school students defend someone for being different?

Can I travel back through time and redo my high school experience at this magical institution of acceptance?
posted by kbanas at 11:16 AM on September 30, 2010 [47 favorites]


and good for them, anyway. no point taking this whole king thing too seriously - next thing you know they'll tell a student he/she can't be homecoming king because s/he can't trace his ancestral lineage back to god.
posted by toodleydoodley at 11:16 AM on September 30, 2010


They wanted to safeguard the line of succession?

BIGOT FAIL
posted by Joe Beese at 11:16 AM on September 30, 2010


So in the second run-through of the universe, after we work the bugs out, what will happen is that the kid who was named replacement homecoming king will at homecoming refuse and demand that Oak be given the honor instead. Sorry for the inconvenience... it's to be expected when you're living in a beta universe, though.

(also, apologies for the 2000 US presidential election. man, we were embarrased about that one!)
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:17 AM on September 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Look, they have to take this stuff seriously. The National Association of Homecoming Kings and Queens could have the district's asses for this over not following Regulation 42-H.b of the Fourth District Juvenile Rules Section. The supervisors knew what they were risking flaunting the national chartered rules like that. It's stupid mistakes like this that stop great schools from reaching Class I. Reed'll never make it to pro now.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:18 AM on September 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


Oak Reed is a fantastic name.
posted by Babblesort at 11:18 AM on September 30, 2010 [15 favorites]


The support from around the country and the world has been amazing. An account is being worked out to make t-shirts available internationally with proceeds benefiting Oak's surgery.

Wow.
posted by anastasiav at 11:20 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll take your institutionally-mandated popularity and beauty contest in a public school setting and raise you government-imposed gender binary enforcement!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:20 AM on September 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


The supervisors knew what they were risking flaunting the national chartered rules like that.

Yoohoo!! Look what I've got over heeeeere! It's a copy of the national chartered rules!
posted by Horace Rumpole at 11:21 AM on September 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm so proud of those kids. I know, intellectually, that things are getting better and attitudes toward transgendered folks are changing, but it's pretty fantastic to see actual highschoolers being so proactive about it. Good on them. Hopefully the administration will listen, and if not, at least having an open conversation about it is now unavoidable.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 11:21 AM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


> In what alternate universe do high school students defend someone for being different?


From what I've seen, kids in public schools today do actually seem more enlightened and easy going than they did say 10-15 years ago. I would guess that some combination of anti-bullying measures, ubiquity of computers and internet (making nerd-hood not so much of a stigma), and overall social acceptance of so-called alternative lifestyles have all contributed to making kids generally nicer to each other. On the other hand they have to deal with draconian measures like zero-tolerance policies and fetishization of standardized testing, so it's not like they're out of the woods yet.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:22 AM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


N.B. It is not certain whether Oak would have received enough votes to be elected homecoming king. Oak's votes were not counted. Several students interviewed believe he would have been elected if eligable to run.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:22 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey, Andrew Shirvell....do you like apples?

I SAID, 'DO YOU LIKE APPLES?'
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 11:23 AM on September 30, 2010 [13 favorites]


I think it's fine for people to read the national chartered rules in their own homes, I just wish they wouldn't flaunt them in my face.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:25 AM on September 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


I preferred the National Chartered Rules before they signed to a major label. Now they've just sold out.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:28 AM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's refreshingly AWESOME to see the students standing up for their classmates.

Stories of acceptance need to make the front pages more often. Sadly, we only read about things like Tyler Clementi and Matthew Shepard.

The year after I graduated, my High School elected an openly-gay homecoming king, even in my ass-backwards homophobic hometown. The year after I graduated college, they (overwhelmingly) elected a transgendered homecoming queen, which generated virtually zero controversy within the college itself.

The homophobes need to amend their ways, or risk looking like the people who were opposed to the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
posted by schmod at 11:28 AM on September 30, 2010


Look, they have to take this stuff seriously. The National Association of Homecoming Kings and Queens could have the district's asses for this over not following Regulation 42-H.b of the Fourth District Juvenile Rules Section.

This snark is really not warranted. I realize what you're saying, that it's just a homecoming title that doesn't mean anything. What does matter, though, is that the school administration is completely okay with spreading transphobia, and for someone in high school already going through all of the shitty things that comes with that identity, knowing that the administration is on the side of bigots actually does mean something. It sends a message to this kid that they should feel ashamed for who they are, and that not fitting into one of the two designated genders means they're not deserving of the same activities granted to kids who do fit the molds.
posted by spiderskull at 11:32 AM on September 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Hear that, homophobes? All that rage and hate you have stored up is for nothing because your kids just don't give a fuck. Your day in the sun is fading. Don't even think about your grandkids' attitudes.

You know that this isn't an issue of homophobia, but one of transphobia, right? The two are related, in the same way that both are related to sexism, but they're not the same thing.
posted by Arturus at 11:34 AM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


These high school kids are so much cooler than everyone I knew and I were back in high school.

If only they'd just get off my damned lawn...

I just put down fresh sod!
posted by Aizkolari at 11:35 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is there a special anti-leadership class that school administrators take? Either they are completely out of touch with the attitudes of their students, or they are trying to mandate something they effectively don't have the power to do. So they look clueless or weak (in addition to xenophobic), congrats.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:38 AM on September 30, 2010


Dan Savage was right. It gets better
posted by cottoncandybeard at 11:40 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I realize what you're saying, that it's just a homecoming title that doesn't mean anything.

Yes, which is why my point was how silly it was for the school to wad their undies about it, not us. Unwad your undies now.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:42 AM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty excited by the implication that within a generation, school administrations will have to work harder than ever just to come up with minorities they can discriminate against.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:42 AM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


If this were a teen movie, the big scene at the end would be the Homecoming dance. The king chosen winner by the administration, head football player, transphobic and brute-like, gets his crown, pound his chest and grunt. The crowd grumbles. The elected queen comes up, accepts her crown, goes to the mike- and give her crown to Oak! Since he's "biologically female" and all. Everyone swivels around to Oak's shocked face and he rises from sitting forlornly in the corner, coming forward as the crowd begins a slow clap that grows into a riotous cheer! Oak accepts the crown, the sash, and the flowers, and turns to find his one true love (co-captain of the football team!!!) waiting to give him a big ole' kiss. The crowd goes wild! Brute King throws his crown on the floor in disgust! The principal stands slack-jawed while his sassy grey-haired secretary (played by Betty White) stands beside him, smiling and laughing. AND SCENE.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:45 AM on September 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


Unwad your undies now.

I am actually making a video game about a piece of steak that collects undies right now. I'm not even kidding. (I'll link to it in projects when it's complete.)

In other news - this is awesome.
posted by Pecinpah at 11:46 AM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why does the school administration so much as care?
posted by kenko at 11:47 AM on September 30, 2010


I know the school didn't cancel homecoming and have a second "secret" one, but didn't they think Constance McMillen's story might have some parallels? Worse for them, the students support Oak, so there is no hiding behind "this is what the students wanted."
posted by filthy light thief at 11:51 AM on September 30, 2010


Hear that, homophobes? All that rage and hate you have stored up is for nothing because your kids just don't give a fuck.

This is beyond not giving a fuck. It's the kids showing a huge amount of support for Oak Reed in the face of school opposition.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:55 AM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, is there a scab king now?

Good on the kids. Assuming a write-in campaign wasn't some sort of cruel prank.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:00 PM on September 30, 2010


Is it wrong that my main concern here was "Is he cute?!"

Yes, it's probably very wrong. Also: I am having trouble finding pictures. Of a high school boy. Oh gourd, what have I become?
posted by sonika at 12:02 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Is it wrong that my main concern here was "Is he cute?!"


This is another interesting thing about high schoolers today. I've seen a lot of homecoming/prom king/queen votes that were mainly about a cause or an issue, or what that person had been doing that year. Just being conventionally attractive may soon be an unfashionable reason to vote someone to those (admittedly superfluous) titles.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:05 PM on September 30, 2010


Kids these days. *Headshake*

Sometimes they're so fucking awesome they make me cry.
posted by EvaDestruction at 12:06 PM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


kenko: "Why does the school administration so much as care?"

That's where it gets weirder the deeper you go down the rabbit hole. Adults who went to ed school are apparently lying awake fretting about their students' genitals.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:11 PM on September 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


> Is it wrong that my main concern here was "Is he cute?!"

This is another interesting thing about high schoolers transphobia and sexism today.


Fixed that for you.
And not to snark on the original comment poster, but it should be mentioned that physical appearance is a huge factor in acceptance in cases like these.

"I mean, hey, I'm ok with it, as long as the trans kid don't look like a freak...."
posted by Theta States at 12:22 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Seriously, there isn't enough of this. There should be a dot.com somewhere that posts the pictures of bigots with documentation of their bigotry underneath, and on each of these pictures, stamped in big ass red letters "RACIST", "HOMOPHOBE", "MISOGYNIST", "JIM RUSSELL", etc.

You click somewhere to post it on Facebook, click somewhere else a t-shirt is shipped to your house, click on another icon and they are moved to the top of a list somewhere, you know?

Then all of these people will complain about the stigma, the discrimination, and the social consequences of being associated with these very general and very negative labels...

And maybe...

Just maybe...

A little bit of empathy will seep in, and they'll join us all on this side of 1850.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 12:30 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Uh, Theta States... I don't know what you're implying about my statement, but I would be fine with a trans kid even if he was a freak. I love freaks! It was an idle query based on "Homecoming King = Popular = Probably Cute" in the high school paradigm and not "Well, if he's not cute, I'm not ok with it."

And also, I shouldn't be thinking about whether or not high school boys are cute in the first place.

I'm queer. I went to to high school. I was the girl with the shaved head. I know all about how appearance and acceptance go together.
posted by sonika at 12:32 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh come on. We're talking about a prom king contest. Those contests are all about cute. Even when they're about causes, they're about cute. People asking if he's cute - just as they would with any other teenage dress-up show - isn't something to get angry about.

And the answer is yes.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:33 PM on September 30, 2010


There should be a dot.com somewhere that posts the pictures of bigots with documentation of their bigotry underneath, and on each of these pictures, stamped in big ass red letters "RACIST", "HOMOPHOBE", "MISOGYNIST", "JIM RUSSELL", etc.
Then all of these people will complain about the stigma, the discrimination, and the social consequences of being associated with these very general and very negative labels...


I remember reading on some terrible article comments section recently that some conservatives have branded those terms "meaningless buzz words" that should just be swatted away, because "progressives" just use them when they have nothing "real" to say and no logic points to make.
Seriously.

(I think I saw that logic being applied in some Republican reactions to the O'Keefe rape boat scandal)
posted by Theta States at 12:35 PM on September 30, 2010


Oooh, finally a pic! Yes, he is a cutie!

And yes I am way too old and way too pregnant to be saying that outloud.
posted by sonika at 12:35 PM on September 30, 2010


I was the girl with the shaved head

Pix plz.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:36 PM on September 30, 2010


sonika, I didn't mean to imply anything about your statement. It was a tangent that I wanted to address. Apologies for insinuating.
posted by Theta States at 12:37 PM on September 30, 2010


>And not to snark on the original comment poster, but it should be mentioned that physical appearance is a huge factor in acceptance in cases like these.

The first article has video and yes - he is pretty conventionally attractive.

Also in the video - a classmate talks very supportively of Oak - using the female pronoun. And the continued use of "Oakleigh" by the reporter(and everyone else) is also a bit jarring when it's seems pretty clear that he prefers just "Oak."
posted by sawdustbear at 12:38 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, his classmates didn't like that.

Every once in a while, it is nice to see that kids can actually a bit wiser than the people trying to teach them.

This is one of those times.
posted by quin at 12:39 PM on September 30, 2010


When will school administrators learn that calling attention to teen hijinks* like these just makes the whole thing last longer?
If you don't like something, just ignore it, the crowd will move on soon enough.

It's the same with those stupid "boobies" cancer bracelets, the minute you ban them, they're going to pop up everywhere.
Let the kids have their moment and move on.

* "hijinks" isn't really the right word. Nor is "trend". But you get the idea.
posted by madajb at 12:40 PM on September 30, 2010


Ooh they heven have a shitty Shepard Fairey poster!
posted by ReeMonster at 12:42 PM on September 30, 2010


I'll post what I just posted on the facebook page (gods I actually USED facebook):

The school administration of Mona Shores High School needs to learn that it cannot do something like this. To anyone. I hope the administrators are so shamed by the public outcry against this they resign. Let their shame be a message to every other school administration in the world: students are people with rights that cannot be taken away.

And seriously, I am in love with these students. To see this sort of support and solidarity in the face of blatant bigotry is wonderful. Please, keep being awesome like this when you become adults. And maybe, just maybe, this culture and this country can be awesome again.
posted by strixus at 12:42 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


No worries, Theta States.

shakespherian: I'm proud to say that there are no extant pictures of my high school days on the internerds. There is a photo of me in profile, you can imagine me twelve years younger and with a shaved head.
posted by sonika at 12:44 PM on September 30, 2010


It amazes me how some educators forget about their students.

If you aren't teaching for a better society, why do you even bother showing up to work?
posted by munchingzombie at 12:50 PM on September 30, 2010


All I can say is that after reading the first sentence of the posting here,

> Oak Reed was a write-in candidate for homecoming king who won with a majority of the votes.

I was really worried considering the recent trend, but persevered and continued reading.

This story counts as a win, even if he doesn't get to wear the crown.
posted by djfiander at 12:52 PM on September 30, 2010


There is a photo of me in profile, you can imagine me twelve years younger and with a shaved head.

Alternately I have Photoshop and a jpeg of Billy Corgan.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:53 PM on September 30, 2010


...ubiquity of computers and internet...

This is a big part of it. Once upon a time, kids grew up in smaller towns and had less access to news and goings-on from other areas, and so the local bigotry was incorporated firmly into the student body's social mores.

Over time, through telephones, radio and television, and people crowding into larger and more dense cities, even access to cars, kids got access to different points of view, from authority figures (media exposure) and peers (telephones and face-to-face conversations with kids from other schools.) Diversity expanded, and so did the range of opinions expressed, but the peer-to-peer communication (of the social kind, not the computer kind) carried the most weight, so the range of opinions respected was still tilted towards the local.

Now the internet has broken the whole thing wide open, because the communication between peers can be between two individuals on opposite sides of the world. The range of views expressed and respected is more more broad, and so you've got kids swimming in points of view that are significantly different from anything available locally.

In present day, then, you've got to have something to draw a majority of kids to a common viewpoint in order for that viewpoint to enable significant changes (positive or negative.) The kids in the Constance McMillan story were, for whatever reason, inclined to focus their viewpoints on tradition, local bigotry, and fear of difference, whereas the kids in this case took the opposite approach.

In both cases, the school authorities had the same position, and so it comes down to either parental involvement or random chance or local effects, it's really hard to say. It does help us understand that change, even on the scale enabled by the internet, still takes second position to whatever's going on in the local community (even if the range of potential change between generations is now much, much larger.)
posted by davejay at 12:53 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


In what alternate universe do high school students defend someone for being different?

My wife teaches in a school where the homecoming king this past year was the biggest flaming queen you can imagine. He (and he thinks of himself as a he but is as flamboyant as they come) beat out the starting quarterback on the football team to win the homecoming king title.

It happens.
posted by Doohickie at 12:54 PM on September 30, 2010


Administrators say Reed was ineligible because he is officially enrolled as a female.

The logic here interests me. Do students in Michigan have to declare a gender? If so, are they allowed to change it? When do they have to declare it?

I guess my question is how does one "enroll as a female"? Or are they just equating sex and gender?

In what alternate universe do high school students defend someone for being different?

Usually when it's the parents and school officials who are mandating what's "different."
posted by mrgrimm at 12:55 PM on September 30, 2010


Nice interview with Oak in roll truck roll's link. It ends with the reporter saying
Oakley says there's nothing that can be done about homecoming, but there's always prom.
I am so looking forward to that.
posted by stefanie at 12:55 PM on September 30, 2010


A thought: knowing what we know about kids that age, the difference between the two schools could literally have come down to this: what did the most popular kids in the school think?
posted by davejay at 12:56 PM on September 30, 2010


and if so, we should be focusing social change grass-roots efforts on the cool kids
posted by davejay at 12:56 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


These kids I actually want on my lawn.
posted by orme at 12:57 PM on September 30, 2010 [16 favorites]


I am totally broke but bought a shirt anyway in support. I'm not made of stone, y'know.
posted by jtron at 1:04 PM on September 30, 2010


Seriously, Doohickie? Why do you even have to qualify that "he thinks of himself as a he"?

Maybe you might have been trying to make a point about how society sees him, but no matter how flamboyant, "gay male" != "wants to be female."*

This is such a huge part of the whole struggle: that sexuality and gender continually get lumped together but aren't actually related as much as many people think they are. One is whom you like; the other is who you are.

*Aside from, you know, the few who do, though that goes for folks of all sexualities.
posted by Madamina at 1:06 PM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


orme wrote: "These kids I actually want on my lawn."

I still don't want 'em on my lawn, but it's OK if they take a leisurely walk past. I'll bite my tongue and not admonish them to keep off the grass.
posted by wierdo at 1:10 PM on September 30, 2010


Should have called The Wolf to take care of this.

Terry Babbit: Mr. Wolf, you gotta understand somethin' –

The Wolf: Winston, Terry – please, Winston.

Babbit: You gotta understand something, Winston. I want to help you guys … girls …. guys out and all, but Mona Shores has a reputation and we were guided by legal counsel’s formal opinion, the students might not mind but Uncle Conrad and Aunt Ginny are askeerd of people who are different so …

Wolf: Let me ask you a question - if you don’t mind?

Babbit: Sure

Wolf: Your legal counsel, Uncle Conrad and Aunt Ginny - regardless of whether the matter in question is a microcosmic high school issue - are they interested in protecting civil liberties for all citizens?

Babbit: No.

Wolf: Well, the ACLU is. And I’m positive that if your legal counsel were interested in the future of the country, they would be more supportive of young people expressing themselves through collective action and celebrating diversity in these formative years of their lives. Which civil libertarians are more than happy to do. (Takes out a roll of subpoenas and lawsuits) I like Oak Reed myself. He’s my kind of homecoming king. How ‘bout you Terry? (holds up wad of lawsuits) You an Oak man?

Babbit: ...Oak’s nice.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:10 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


"I'm not allowed to even talk about it," explained David Walls, dean of students.

Vocabulary correction for our (anonymous?) AOL reporter: an explanation is something that makes a situation less baffling, not much, much more baffling. "I'm controlled by unnamed powerful forces that force me to keep the truth a secret" doesn't even qualify as an explanation when it's trotted out by a character of a hackish serial drama writer, much less an interviewee of a news reporter.
posted by roystgnr at 1:42 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


And the answer is yes.
posted by roll truck roll at 3:33 PM on September 30 [+] [!] Other [2/2]: «≡·


awww! He looks like Diana Taurasi's adorable baby brother!
posted by toodleydoodley at 1:50 PM on September 30, 2010


In what alternate universe do high school students defend someone for being different?

Serious question (if a bit of a derail, for which I apologize): Is Glee perhaps a contributing factor to American high schoolers' attitudes regarding difference and diversity, in addition to being a reflection of same? I watch it pretty regularly, but I'm an old person and I know exactly one high schooler, so I'm kind of curious.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 2:06 PM on September 30, 2010




Becoming a school administrator without having seen Rock and Roll High School is tantamount to graduating from law school without having seen The Paper Chase. I mean, yeah, you can do it, but there's a good chance you're going to look like a chump at some point in the future.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 2:09 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The irony is that Ann Arbor is biologically male.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:25 PM on September 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


"he thinks of himself as a he but is as flamboyant as they come"

Uh-oh.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 2:28 PM on September 30, 2010


Of all the hills to make your stand on, what on earth possessed the school administration to do this over fucking HOMECOMING? They'd already allowed male clothing in school photos, addressed him with male pronouns, etc etc etc. What the hell is so special about being introduced at a fucking dance that THIS IS WHERE THEY HAD TO DRAW THE LINE? And, parenthetically, lose a few hundred K in legal bills for the town.
posted by jenkinsEar at 2:38 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kaplan says it is unclear whether the school has broken any nondiscrimination laws.

If this situation is "unclear" there's something fucked up with your laws. You don't need a penis to have your name read out in front of a few hundred people, so the only reason they wouldn't let him do it is discrimination.
posted by doublehappy at 2:44 PM on September 30, 2010


Is there a special anti-leadership class that school administrators take? Either they are completely out of touch with the attitudes of their students, or they are trying to mandate something they effectively don't have the power to do. So they look clueless or weak (in addition to xenophobic), congrats.

But... But... Think of the parents...!!!
posted by jgaiser at 3:11 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


jenkinsEar writes "Of all the hills to make your stand on, what on earth possessed the school administration to do this over fucking HOMECOMING? They'd already allowed male clothing in school photos, addressed him with male pronouns, etc etc etc. What the hell is so special about being introduced at a fucking dance that THIS IS WHERE THEY HAD TO DRAW THE LINE? And, parenthetically, lose a few hundred K in legal bills for the town."

Good chance they were screwed either way if the sex of participants is regulated in some way. If Oak is indeed registered as female then anyone who lost to him could make a stink if the regulations/policy/whatever requires the king to be male.

Should be an interesting transition period (in the chinese curse sort of way) for administration as trans students become more acceptable. Especially in athletics which tend to be heavily sexually segregated. *still bitter I didn't get to play field hockey*
posted by Mitheral at 3:30 PM on September 30, 2010


In what alternate universe do high school students defend someone for being different?

From my experience, kids that age are very concerned about fairness. They may not treat each other fairly, but if the man treats them unfairly then god help him. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the students who are up in arms over this haven't also called a fellow student a spic or a fag before, possibly the same day.
posted by munchingzombie at 3:47 PM on September 30, 2010


> In what alternate universe do high school students defend someone for being different?

I don't want to rain on the 'kids are alright' parade, but if you were a /b/tard, who would you vote for homecoming king? Not that they aren't alright anyway....
posted by ennui.bz at 4:50 PM on September 30, 2010


Oak is my King t-shirt
posted by ackptui at 6:05 PM on September 30, 2010


This story originated in my home town and has caused quite a stir. Reading the comments on here has been very refreshing. Many of the opinions individuals have posted on the local news websites have ranged from ignorant to downright bigotry. I am embarrassed for my city when I read the judgmental and critical viewpoints. Here are a few samples from the websites:

-"What’s the issue? The 'King" is to be a male period. If this person wants to be a gay do it on your own time! Because you want to be a gay don’t mean the rest of the world needs to shape its self to your gayness."

-"The issue is confusion for sure. People here continue to refer to a human with a vagina as "him" I don't care what planet you are from. That’s an issue those people will have to resolve before coming to the table to have an honest discussion. "

-"Hey the administrators did the right thing. It's in the rules. Oakleigh is a female, not a male, and she'll always be a female, so she rightfully can't be crowned king. But seriously I think the real issue here is that why do people try to change their gender and sex in the first place? Why not be happy with the way God made you? He made you the way you are for a reason. And besides, if people didn't try to change their gender in the first place, there wouldn't be situations like this."

-"If you are a woman when you are a woman. If you are a man then you are a man.
Do you think we should put creatures with a penis into the woman’s prison system if he really wants to be a lesbian? Yeah I didn't think so either. It is time people wake up to reality."

-"Maybe this dysfunctional person can be homecoming king at the mental health facility. It is located on Apple Ave, three blocks east of the county building. And for the bible, remember the courts took it out of our government and school systems so keep the Jesus loves & gods mistakes comments to yourself. If your parents were gay/lesbian you would not be here posting how wrong the school officials decisions are. Remember, LIFE IS SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED"

-"The sooner "Oak" (and the other students at Mona shores) figure out that there are rules in this society the better off they all will be. I really don't care what sex "Oak" thinks he or she is, or what he or she does to her body after his or her 18th birthday. But for now, we have to go with what we got and that means Oak is a girl.
I'm sure there is some young man who is mortified that he came in second in the Homecoming King vote to a girl."



I just wanted to put this up here to remind everyone on metafilter how lucky we are to be able to have real and intelligent conversations. Best $5 I've ever spent.
posted by WhiteWhale at 7:05 PM on September 30, 2010 [10 favorites]


You know what would totally end issues like this? Drop the whole stupid "homecoming king, homecoming queen," thing. Schools shouldn't be encouraging such popularity contests.
posted by waitingtoderail at 6:58 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks WhiteWhale for ruining my morning. It was such a relief to read about the support Oak was getting from his classmates and the MeFi community, and beginning to think maybe there was hope that things were getting better. The comments from the "locals" reminded me that this was perhaps a distorted view of the big picture. So much more work to do.
posted by Lost at 7:23 AM on October 1, 2010


It was such a relief to read about the support Oak was getting from his classmates

You can still find relief in that idea. Because it's true. Many of his classmates really have been supporting him. Maybe we can all learn a lot from that generation.

Don't let the local yokels get you down.
posted by morganannie at 8:24 AM on October 1, 2010


Lost-
Sorry! It was not my intention to get people down. There are plenty of supporters locally. I just wanted to point out that ALL of metafilter is supportive.
posted by WhiteWhale at 9:23 AM on October 1, 2010


After getting pretty bummed out over the Tyler Clementi story, this was just what I needed to lift my spirits today. Despite the sad fact that incidents like this keep happening, the overall accepting attitude of today's teens gives me great hope. Tomorrow is looking just a little bit brighter now. Thanks.
posted by xedrik at 10:12 AM on October 1, 2010


And not to snark on the original comment poster, but it should be mentioned that physical appearance is a huge factor in acceptance in cases like these.

I'd say physical appearance is a huge factor in acceptance period. 'Unattractive" cisgendered kids are the butt of jokes, ridicule, intimidation, etc. every day. I'm not going to pretend that it's anywhere close to what transgendered individuals deal with, but attractiveness is probably one of key currencies of the teenage years.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:23 PM on October 1, 2010


You know that this isn't an issue of homophobia, but one of transphobia, right? The two are related, in the same way that both are related to sexism, but they're not the same thing.

I'm not so sure they're really that different, Arturus. It's not about the target's POV - "Do I consider myself gay? No. I am transgendered." It's about the 'phobes' POV.

And homophobes don't generally see a wide distinction between gays, cross-dressers, and trans-folk, even if those three groups (and many of us, myself included) do.

By analogy, hating someone for looking Jewish is anti-semitic. The fact that the person actually looks more like their own ethnic group - Romas, for instance - doesn't make the hater anti-Roma. They're anti-semites (who might also be anti-Roma, of course).
posted by IAmBroom at 1:31 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


And homophobes don't generally see a wide distinction between gays, cross-dressers, and trans-folk, even if those three groups (and many of us, myself included) do.

Unfortunately, homophobes don't see a wide distinction between gays and pedophiles.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:43 PM on October 5, 2010


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