AUSTIN (KXAN) — The honoring of a homecoming king and queen is a long standing tradition for many schools across the nation, but some schools are breaking tradition to be more inclusive.
Westwood High School is dethroning the title of king and queen during its homecoming ceremony this year.
“Our students brought it up and said, ‘Hey Austin High just did this, what do you think about us doing it?'” said Westwood High School Principal Mario Acosta. “I said, ‘Hey if that is where we want to go, and that is where the student body is interested in going, I am all for it.'”
Helping lead the charge is student body president Hart Black and vice president Aria Hegde.
“It is a big change, especially for the community, so we decided to do it in a two-year process,” Black said.
“The first part was changing beau and sweetheart to nobility and that was last year,” Black said.
Nobility as it is now called, allows each club at the school to nominate two people to be recognized during the week of homecoming — no longer just a boy and girl.
“It has allowed people of our community who identify as non-binary to be represented,” Black said.
Homecoming night will see a change as well.
“This year we are also introducing royalty which we are renaming from homecoming king and queen,” Hegde said.
In the past they would have six girl nominees and six boy nominees. This year the homecoming court will consist of the top 12 people who received the most nominations.
“This year we decided to move toward having our homecoming court be non-gender specific,” Black said.
“We could have two boys nominated to be our homecoming royalty, two girls, two non binaries, not a king and queen per se,” Hegde said.
Acosta says he’s always open to ideas that the student body brings to him.
“Making sure you are in constant communication with your student body is critical because then it makes it very easy when they are feeling unsafe or feeling like some practice we have is negatively impacting them,” Acosta said.
Austin High School started holding a gender neutral homecoming ceremony in 2018.
Homecoming will be held Friday night at 7 PM at Kelley Reeves Athletic Complex.