THEmainsheet tuesday SEPTEMBER 19, 2017
Chadwick School - 26800 S Academy Drive, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA - (310) 377-1543

Opinions

Volume 65 Number 2

Jake and Maddie: At Chadwick, LGBT couples can never be royals

by Madeline Bogert and Jake Goldstein - 2014-11-20

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In the wake of Homecoming Week, we would like to start a discussion about a longstanding Chadwick tradition with unsettling heteronormative and cisnormative underpinnings: the Homecoming Court. The negative basis of Homecoming Court applies to Winter Formal and Prom as well, but we have chosen to specifically focus on Homecoming, as it is the largest and most publicized “court” of the three major dances.

Heteronormativity is defined as “the belief that people fall into distinct and complementary genders (man and woman) with natural roles in life. It asserts that heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation or only norm, and states that sexual and marital relations are most (or only) fitting between people of opposite sexes” (Wikipedia). Cisnormativity is the idea that all people identify as the sex they were born as.

Each year, Chadwick students are required to vote for one boy and one girl to be their grade’s Prince and Princess or King and Queen. The current system of selecting students for Homecoming Court allows only for one boy and one girl to win the vote and walk down to the football field during the halftime ceremony. This means that even if--for example--two male or two female Chadwick students have been dating for months, they cannot win a spot on the Homecoming Court because it is impossible to vote for them together.

Additionally, the policies for the Homecoming Court ceremony reinforce traditional gender norms and largely deprive students of the freedom to express their gender identities as they please. An email sent to the students selected for this year’s Homecoming Court included the following instructions in the explanation of the event: “Boys must wear a coat and tie, unless you are a football player. Girls must wear a nice dress and heels.”

Given that one of our Core Values is Fairness and that Chadwick typically strives to foster a diverse, accepting community, we need to reform this anachronistically heteronormative and transphobic tradition.

One possible solution for this issue would be to vote for the members of Homecoming Court as couples. With this system, it would become possible for long-term LGBT couples--or even friends of the same gender--to be voted in as the Queen and Queen, King and King, etc. However, this situation could potentially cause difficulty because at such a small school, there are often very few established couples to vote for. To solve this issue, we would not necessarily have to vote for romantic couples (people who are dating each other), rather people attending the dance together--this new policy encompasses both friends and couples of all sexual orientations and gender identities. People who want to be eligible for Homecoming Court positions would simply submit their names to the ASB Social Chair via a Google Form survey.

In order to address the cisnormative issues regarding the Homecoming Court, two things need to be done. Firstly, winners of the Homecoming Court must not be required--as they currently are--to wear clothes specific to a gender. In order to eliminate the cisnormative aspects of the court, each person should be allowed to dress how he or she wants, provided that his or her attire is formal. A guy could wear a dress, and a girl could wear a suit.

Secondly, those who win Homecoming Court should not be required to define themselves as either a prince or princess (or king or queen). The current system assumes that each person defines him or herself as only either male or female. Chadwick should be a place where everyone feels comfortable expressing his or her gender identity without having to conform to the societal expectation that gender is binary. Instead, there should be an option for people to represent themselves as Chadwick “Royals,” “Rulers,” or any other pronoun of their choice in order to eliminate the cisnormative aspect of this tradition.

Chadwick should strive to be on the forefront of gender and sexuality issues by allowing students to feel comfortable with these aspects of their identities. In order to truly become a fair and compassionate community, we must alter these norms and customs that reinforce traditional, outdated notions of gender and sexuality.


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homecoming, chadwick, cisnormative, court, people, only, students, vote, girl, king, queen, gender, must, wear, issue, couples, order


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