Heather Murphy-Raines/Scout's HonorWhy can't public high schools just get it right lately?!
First, there was the student that wasn't allowed to wear a tuxedo for her senior picture. Simply excluded from the yearbook.
Then there was the black versus white labeled student body positions. Nope, black students need not apply as president.
All those were in the South, so I figured it was a Southern discrimination thing.
Sadly, not so much.
Oakleigh Reed, a Michigan transgender youth, was elected as homecoming king. He won the majority of the votes, and yet that vote was invalidated. Oak, as his friends call him, was relegated to sit with the band rather than on a float because of a minor detail ...
He was registered as a girl.
A girl by birth, he plans to have sexual reassignment surgery as soon as his eighteenth birthday arrives.
Don't get me wrong.
The school has made concessions.
They let Oak wear a tuxedo.
He was allowed to wear the male band uniform and will even wear the male senior robes for graduation.
These were great, forward-thinking concessions, but being stripped of the acceptance of his peers? That hurts. It's something he's battled against all his life. As Oak states, "Sometimes it's nice to have something tangible."
It makes me ponder why the school would ruin a perfectly good streak of non-discrimination based on gender identity? Oak's mom feels the same. She's angry as would I be if my child was excluded.
The good news? Change comes slowly, but it does come. Despite the school's poor choice, isn't it fabulous that Oak's peers at Mona Shores High School in Muskegon, Michigan, don't feel the same way?
Maybe there's hope for this next generation that when they become tomorrow's principals and school administrators, there will be another Oak that can be King.
Image Via Franco Folini/Flickr