OMG - Pat Robertson and Victoria Cobb of Daddy Dobson's Family Foundation must be having fits and wetting themselves at the news that the College of William and Mary - the second oldest university in the United States - has elected a transgender Homecoming Queen. Personally, I think it's wonderful, particularly in a homophobic state like Virginia where GLBT citizens have third class status under the civil laws. Obviously, the students at William & Mary know more about equality than Christianists like Taliban Bob McDonnell and Ken "Kook" Cuccinelli.
Here are brief highlights from the Virginian Pilot:
Students at the College of William and Mary have elected a transgender homecoming queen. Jessee Vasold took the field Saturday at halftime of the Williamsburg school's football game against James Madison. The junior and other members of the homecoming court were introduced to the crowd and posed for pictures. Vasold identifies as "genderqueer," a term for those who don't adhere to either strictly male or strictly female gender roles.
The student newspaper, The Flat Hat, has more details on the story and how Vasold came to be elected as homecoming queen.
Here are some highlights:
Friends suggested that Vasold run for homecoming queen. Even though Vasold thought that there was a good chance at being elected, Vasold said the win was still surprising to hear. "We figured it would be something different for the school to go through, something that hasn't happened too often," Vasold said. "I was kind of surprised that I won because I knew the other girls running. I know that they're really friendly; they're wonderful people, so I was unsure." This year marks the return of direct voting by students.
[T]here is no rule against men or women running for opposite roles. Students who made nominations were simply asked to describe how the candidate exemplified Tribe pride. "In general, most descriptions were about what activities they were involved in on campus or spiritedness at sporting events or any other kind of campus activity," Senior Class President Alyssa Wallace said. Those students nominated with a description were put on the ballot.
"It basically came down to nominations," Wallace said. "Jessee was nominated, Jessee's peers voted and Jessee won. That's really all there is to it." Around campus, the reaction has been positive. "I've only had people congratulating me. I know that one of my friends was in a conversation with someone who didn't think that it was fair that I was able to run, because I'm not female-bodied," Vasold said. "But it generated a really good conversation, so they were able to talk about a lot of different things."
For Vasold, the election of the College's first transgender homecoming queen is a significant step forward for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community on campus.
It is encouraging that the younger generation is not clinging to the stereotypes and bigotry that are still all too prevalent here in Virginia.