Monday, November 26, 2007

Transgender student almost denied homecoming king title

A transgender student at Pasadena City College, who was recently elected homecoming king, was nearly denied his title because of his pierced ears, or at least that’s what the homecoming committee wanted students to believe. The student, 24-year-old Andrew Gomez, is transitioning from a female to a male, and ran to set an example for other gay, lesbian and transgender students. After winning, he was denied the title because he has pierced ears, the homecoming committee said. After students protested, Gomez was given back his title as king.

The fact that the homecoming committee used blatant discrimination against Gomez and then tried to disguise it under some bogus ruling is sickening. If you’re going to be narrow-minded and prejudiced enough to discriminate, then do it, but don’t try to hide it under some made-up rule. I’d bet anything that at least one of their past homecoming kings has had one or both ears pierced, as it’s fashionable for men to do so nowadays. Look at how many professional athletes and music stars, especially rappers, have their ears pierced.

The truth of the matter is that the homecoming committee did not want a transgender student as their king because of bias toward straight, “normal” people. I commend Gomez for running when he could have faced much ridicule, and also commend the other students who protested the homecoming committee’s ruling and got it overturned.

The fact that Gomez even got elected shows a growing tolerance for people with different lifestyles in this country. Someone commented on the story that he/she thought the only reason Gomez got elected was so people could make fun of him, but I don't think this is the case. The students who lobbied against the homecoming committee's decision on Gomez's behelf shows how the country's young people are becoming more open-minded than ever before.

Check out the story on the Chronicle of Higher Education news blog here.

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