By Sara Balter |Opinion| –
In a perfect world, everyone would be equal, have equal opportunities, and be equally accepted. However, we do not live in a perfect world. To be frank, the world is far from perfect. One of the least perfect things about this world, one could argue, is high school. Believe it or not, even Lincoln High has room for improvement.
Everyone deserves equal representation. And for high school students who identify with the LGBTQ+ community, representation can often be hard to find.
Understandably, schools can only do so much when it comes to modifying traditional structures in order to increase representations. But, if there is something a school can do, why shouldn’t they jump at the chance?
This year at Lincoln High School, Student Council members and sponsor Nicole Barnes saw an opportunity, and they jumped.
They decided that the Homecoming and Prom nominations would be conducted in a more inclusive way. Students are now allowed to select eight nominees per grade, no matter their gender identity, and when the final four are picked, each person can choose which title best suits their gender identity.
“The way we did it this year was, I think, a step,” Barnes said. “Schools try to respond to the needs of their community and students, but we also need to be careful because we need to honor some tradition.”
Traditionally there have been gender binary titles like Lord and Lady, Duke and Duchess, Prince and Princess, and King and Queen.
“I think that this [letting students choose their titles] was a step in the right direction toward making the process more inclusive,” Barnes said.
“Do I think this is how it is going to stay forever, and ever, and ever? Not necessarily, because the process is, ultimately, going to respond to what the community wants to see,” Barnes added.
A sophomore, who wished not to be identified, said they think changing the Homecoming and Prom titles to make them gender neutral would overall have a positive effect on the LGBT community.
“I know that many people, including myself, would not be comfortable with being referred to with gendered titles, so this would be a good change for our school to enact,” they said.
However, this change is complex, according to Barnes. It cannot be done with a simple swipe of a pen and a thumbs up. The administration would have to approve, and it is very likely that there would be negative backlash from some parents, Barnes said.
“There is a process for making these kinds of changes, and we have to be mindful of potential backlash so that we can protect students who may be impacted negatively,” Barnes added.
One solution would be to simply add a new title – something that is non-gender biased – that can be used for all grades at both Homecoming and Prom. We can keep tradition, and everyone gets their fair amount of representation.
Every student at Lincoln High School deserves to feel safe and included. If adding another title to the Homecoming and Prom royalty could really make a difference, why not make the jump?