The Queens of Homecoming
On the 29th October Rebeca Arellano became the first female and lesbian King of Homecoming not only at Patrick Henry High School (located in San Diego of California, USA) but of the whole nation. Her Queen was her girlfriend Haileigh Adams. Adams had been nominated for Homecoming Queen, but it was even more surprising, and exciting for most, that the school witnessed their first female ‘King.’
Being crowned King and Queen, Arellano had this to say, “I was happier than when I won, my little Haileigh has just been announced Homecoming Queen and I couldn't feel happier!” The happiness of this comment allowed for later happiness and excitement for the fact that the two girls had just changed and further challenged a tradition that takes place within high schools in the United States.
There had been negative feedback due to the tradition of a male taking the place as King, however Adams made the point that “there's no other way for us to run as a couple. It's not really fair for us not to have the right to run as a couple,” in response to the fact some students of Patrick Henry High School had negative comments, with some "saying they're embarrassed and that it's wrong for a girl to take the spot of king."
However there has been more positive feedback from the night with a teacher telling Arellano, "Today school is a bit better because of you girls." Later on Facebook Arellano posted, "Thank you all for allowing this change to happen.” The change within this school to accept a lesbian couple as King and Queen for Homecoming presents a positive outcome for the fight for LGBT rights within communities throughout the country, and it also gives high school students who fall under the LGBT community more confidence of sorts to challenge the traditions of their high schools that pertain to couples with the exclusion of other particular couples.
Although the challenge to the traditions of high schools and their Prom/Homecoming gendered ‘norms’ of King and Queen nationwide hasn’t been the first, and most certainly not the last, it has put up a fresher fight as the last notable case of a homosexual partnership accepting the crowns of King and Queen were Hudson High School Senior’s Charlie Ferrusi and Timothy Howard in 2010. However the pair were not a couple, merely friends, yet norms were broken and the pair won by a “landslide.” However there are still instances where schools are less than accepting of homosexual couples breaking the ‘norms’ of Prom/Homecoming. Constance McMillen is one such case in which her school, Itawamba County Agricultural High, cancelled Prom after McMillen challenged the School Board with the backing of the American Civil Liberties Union. Negative responses from fellow students took the form of “thanks for ruining my senior year.”
While there are cases where homosexual couples have accepted the crowns of King and Queen, Rebeca Arellano and Haileigh Adams have revived the fight and given hope to youths of the LGBT community and provided a story of success for campaigners in their own schools and strengthened the fight for individuals who have already challenged traditions such as Constance McMillen.