Wisconsin high school ends gender-specific homecoming royalty

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)

  • Khatti


  • X.A. Smith

    They didn’t decide to get rid of a school-sanctioned popularity contest, but this is a welcome step.

  • Mike Worcester

    Over thirty years ago my high school, as a part of Homecoming Week activities, would hold a slave auction. The popular athletes would be sold (yes, with real $$), and then be used by the winning bidders to engage in such actions as carry their books to class, We all thought it was good fun, then realised later it was not appropriate, so we stopped.

    Where my girlfriend teaches, their homecoming king and queen is chosen by a random draw of the students chosen to be a part of the court. The question there is, why bother then?

    Too many schools still restrict membership of the homecoming court to only those involved in athletics. That seems wrong to this humble former non-athlete.

    Traditions come and go, and in the end, the kids will be alright. And some times they are even ahead of us adults in taking the correct steps. Good for them! 🙂