Wisconsin high school ends gender-specific homecoming royalty

Madison West High School students paraded today as part of the school's homecoming celebration. Photo: Madison West High School Facebook page.

In Madison, Wisc., the king and queen are dead. Long live “Regent Royalty.”

It’s homecoming week at Madison West High School and the era of gender-specific royalty is over. Students wanted a more inclusive approach to the tradition, The Guardian reports.

Under the new plan, the top two vote-getters get a robe, a scepter, and a crown, they’re just not “king” and “queen” anymore.

“It was just kind of changing people’s thinking on the labelling and whatever terms we use, it is still extremely special,” principal Beth Thompson said “You are the two top vote getters. Changing the mindset really is an underlying force behind this, so for me changing the title is important.”

The royal court will consist of the top 20 vote-getters among the senior class.

On a 2012 survey, 1.5 percent of Dane County high school students self-identified as transgender, or about 250 teenagers out of 17,000, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

A student who was the driving force behind the first-in-the-state, gender-neutral initiative didn’t see this afternoon’s crowning.

Skylar Lee, a junior, took his own life last month

“He worked so hard on this issue,” Teri LeSage, a West English teacher, told the State Journal. “I think this has the potential to change the city and the state. He’s left quite a legacy.”

(h/t: Will Lager)