Homecoming and Pride

Ainsley Maddalena, Reporter

Homecoming; a wonderful time of year that is widely renowned for marking the beginning of school as well as fall. With homecoming, of course, comes the homecoming court. Every able-bodied couple in the school lobbying for a place on the court consisting of 3 duke/ duchess candidates (6 total), 3 prince/ princess candidates (6 total), and 4 king/queen candidates (8 total). The student body nominates all of the couples as well as chooses the duke/ duchess (sophomores) and prince/ princess couples (juniors). It is because of this reason I got to thinking about the LGBTQ+ community and its role within the homecoming court. 

I took to interviewing Gordon Butler, principal of Lake Travis High School, about this matter. When I sat down with him he informed me that Lake Travis does not have any restrictions on the LGBTQ+ community running for court. Infact, at McKinney High School where Mr. Butler was the assistant principal, student April Swartz-Larson became the first lesbian student to be nominated for homecoming court as well as to win at McKinney High. 

At Lake Travis, I am aware of many students in the LGBTQ+ community that are open about their sexuality. So since the school’s opening in 1981, why have no students of the LGBTQ+ community been nominated or run? Is it the fact that the students don’t want to go against tradition? Are they afraid that having two queens or two kings on the court lessens their chance of winning? Does the student body refuse to recognize those who identify with a different sexuality identification than themselves? 

Taking all of this into mind, I decided to ask a friend of mine who is transgender. I have known Luka McNamara since I was a freshman and he has always been open about his sexuality. When I asked Luka the following questions he responded as such: “I feel like it’s a mix of how Lakeway views the LGBTQ community and that the school is frankly not very welcoming to LGBT students in general. The GSA (gay-straight allaince) is very underrecognized and many LGBT students feel like we can’t even try and run for court without immediatly being shut down. Most LGBT couples at school cannot openly show their love without fear of ridicule.”

I sympathise with Luka. As someone who is bisexual, I have taken time to tell my friends and family. I am afraid of being judged and discriminated against. It shouldn’t have to be this way. No, I never had any desire to run for court but there are some members of the LGBTQ+ community at Lake Travis High School who want to. They shouldn’t be afraid of wanting to participate in a fun, high school tradition. It’s the 21st Century and people need to get a grip on themselves, both the straight people and gays. Straight people need to recognize that people will love who they want to love. No matter who you may define love, or when you believe you are able to love, love is infinite. Love, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests and warm attachment, devotion, and enthusiasm. 

No matter who you are, we all love something. Whether you love cats over dogs, jazz music over rock music, or the countryside over the city, someone will always disagree with you. Some one will also always agree with you. You are not alone. Not everyone around us may understand that love and that’s alright; they don’t have to. We, as a society, need to have a better understanding for one another. We don’t have to like each other, this is not what I’m saying by any means. What I’m saying is this: love is love. Love openly and freely. Focus on your happiness over what other people say and think. You are enough. You are loved by someone. You don’t have to be loved by everyone, so don’t try to be. Be proud of who you are and stand by YOU. 

And to those of you who choose not to accept those around you, I ask you to try. The world has been changing for a long time now. All anyone wants is to be accepted. Discrimination is the “prejudial outlook, action, or treatment” (Merriam-Webster). The act of discrimination should have died a long time ago, but it didn’t. It should not be prevalent in society, much less a high school.