High schools have long been a bastion of gender policing, most recently punishing Constance McMillan* and Alexis Lusk for their sexuality and gender. And now, at Mona Shores High School, the cissexist administration is using homecoming as an excuse to champion the gender binary. Oak Reed was voted homecoming king recently by his classmates and friends. Since he is trans, school officials decided that that simply wouldn't do.
Assistant Superintendent Todd Geerlings said the issue is simple: The ballots gave two choices -- vote for a boy for king and a girl for queen...And, in school records, he said, Oakleigh is still listed as a female..."They told me that they took me off because they had to invalidate all of my votes because I'm enrolled at Mona Shores as a female," Oakleigh said.Oak and his friends are understandably upset. He was surprised because school administrators and teachers had already given him the basic respect of treating him as his actual gender. "They let me wear a male tux for band uniform, and they're going to let me wear the male robe and cap for graduation...[Teachers] call me Oak, and they say, he, him, his."
His classmates, the ones who elected him in the first place, have intensified their support of their king. One student, Nick Schrier, started a Facebook group called "Oak Is My King" protesting the school's decision (click on the link to join!). The group suggests writing letters to the local paper and wearing shirts proclaiming their support of Oak on the day of the game. "It's the senior class that votes for their representative," Reed said. "What they did was taking away the voice of the senior class."
The article profiling this incident is at first benign, but actually another example of cissexism masquerading as objectivity. The reporter avoids referring to Oak's very clearly stated gender through pronouns; Oak is constantly referred to either by his first name or as "the teen". Alone, this would be troublesome. But especially in conjunction with pained references to Oak's prior name and surgery plans, it betrays a cissexist denial of Oak's gender as truly his on the part of the reporter.
An arbitrary popularity contest is far from the biggest struggle facing trans people today. But this is an excellent example of how cissupremacy and the kyriarchy are regularly perpetuated: by making sure that the genders of trans people are seen as less legitimate and less real than the genders of trans people.
Also see Monica at TransGriot's coverage.
*Originally mis-identified as Candace.