Electing a Homecoming court is a traditional part of the annual Homecoming activities held at many high schools across the country. It’s common for one Homecoming king and one Homecoming queen to be elected; however, in recent years the high school Student Council decided to change this title to monarch – electing one person instead of two. While electing two people as monarchs can potentially make the election more enjoyable, it can suggest that there are only two genders. By electing one monarch, however, the election focused more on the individual elected than taking note of two people’s genders.
Historically, many students have felt that their gender fit into the category of a Homecoming king or queen, but as times change, many students are becoming more in tune with who they are. For instance, a genderqueer person (someone who does not follow binary gender norms,) might not identify with fitting into the classification of a king or queen.
If the high school were to elect two monarchs, and those elected were a boy and girl, people could potentially interpret it as a promotion of a binary gender model and that there are only two genders. By electing one person, this assumption can be avoided, and the election can be focused more on the characteristics of that individual rather than their gender.
In recent years, high schools like the Niles West High School located in Skokie, Illinois, have made the switch to electing two people, rather than the traditional Homecoming king and queen. According to The Nile West News, they shifted “To be more mindful of everybody’s sexuality and the ways they identify,” student activities director Katie Odell explained. While they made the shift from king and queen to Homecoming royalty, they continued to elect two people rather than one. This allows people to elect a nominee for their qualities rather than focusing on their gender.
One may argue that having two monarchs instead of one is more fun; it would give more people a chance to become monarch and they would get to share their experience with one of their peers. Although this may be true, continuing to elect two people, like the king and queen, can potentially imply that there are two genders if a boy and girl are elected.
The annual Homecoming election is a way to celebrate a person for who they are, while also making sure every nominee feels welcomed and accurately represented. Because of the decision to crown one monarch for Homecoming, the nomination can be more inclusive to people who don’t identify with being a boy or girl. Additionally, crowning one monarch can eliminate the insinuation that there are two genders and can make the election more focused on celebrating the person rather than noticing their gender.
Every fall, high school students look forward to exciting homecoming traditions such as spirit week and senior toilet paper. One of the most notable events is the crowning of the Homecoming monarch.
In the past, the high school crowned two monarchs, although this year, there was a shift to crowning only one monarch. Eliminating the two crowned monarchs removes students’ opportunity to be crowned and the symbolic tradition of having awarded classmates come together to promote school spirit. The high school used to have one male student crowned king and one female student crowned queen; however, in recent years there was a push to switch to a more gender-inclusive title. The idea behind having one monarch was that by not having two people crowned, the expectation of two genders would be eliminated.
The school can embrace the tradition of honoring two students while being inclusive to all students by keeping the rhetoric gender-neutral. Using the title of monarch avoids the non-inclusive, gendered titles of king and queen. Keeping the tradition of honoring two individuals allows for all students to be represented; two monarchs will show the inclusivity and unity of the student body and allow all to participate in the fun of Homecoming week.
In addition, a single monarch only isolates a student from the rest, and brings further division between classmates. Having the students vote for only one individual could increase the intensity of a supposed friendly competition. One monarch could seem like a first-place prize and make others feel as if they lost as opposed to having two monarchs as multiple winners, diluting the sense of competition. The selection of two monarchs allows for more students to have a chance to be appreciated. By crowning one more person, more students would be honored as monarchs, which is an enjoyable experience.
Allowing two monarchs opposed to one is more beneficial to students, and creates an inclusive and welcoming environment. Being crowned as monarch is a substantial compliment from fellow classmates and is a chance that should not be restricted. Limiting this opportunity to a single student is not effective in its efforts to be more inclusive.
“Yes. If you have multiple monarchs, it doesn’t work. There has to be one person that leads it, not multiple.”
“No. I think one person doesn’t represent the whole senior class. It doesn’t have to be gender-specific, but I think there should be two.”
“No. I think the more people, the merrier.”
“No. I think there should be more than one because it’s unfair to all the people who want to be a monarch.”
“No. I can understand why there would only be one, but I think to keep tradition, it would be cool to have two. Maybe keep the name monarch and not necessarily assign a gender to each winner.”