Brandon Allen, a senior at White Station High School in Memphis, Tennessee, was crowned to his school's homecoming court Friday night. The student received his crown and sash while wearing a sparkly gold dress and was met with widespread support from school officials and fellow classmates.
White Station High School shared a photo congratulating the 17-year-old teen on his victory.
— White Station High (@White Station High)
"We crowned our 2019 Homecoming Royalty tonight," a message posted to the school's Twitter account reads "Congrats to senior Brandon Allen!. The photo has amassed thousands of comments and shares on the school's Facebook page, mostly in support of Allen.
"It's the students' choice of who they want to support as homecoming royalty," said s WSHS Principal Carrye Holland in the comments section of the post. "I'm exceedingly proud to be the principal of our amazing school. WSHS loves and supports everyone regardless of who they are or what they believe."
Joris Ray, the superintendent of Memphis' Shelby County Schools, has also said he supports efforts to allow students to express themselves freely.
"Regarding @SpartansWSHS Homecoming: Shelby County Schools policy prohibits discrimination, and the District is committed to ensuring a positive and respectful school environment where everyone is treated with dignity," he said in a series of tweets.
\u201cRegarding @SpartansWSHS Homecoming: Shelby County Schools policy prohibits discrimination, and the District is committed to ensuring a positive and respectful school environment where everyone is treated with dignity. Homecoming queen and king is a tradition...\u201d
Allen, who identifies as gay and is the self-proclaimed "Queen of Extra," told HuffPost that he chose to wear the gown because he truly believes he is royalty.
"So I want to rock a dress and look like a queen," he said.
According to the outlet, White Station High School discontinued the traditional honors of homecoming king and queen this year, making a switch to gender neutral titles.
As expected, the news a Tennessee high school was thumbing its nose at the gender binary and celebrating LGBTQ+ students didn't come without backlash from the public. However, the White Station High School's faculty and administration continued to stand by the inclusive policies.
"Today I found out lots of adults have lots of real strong feelings about who wins Homecoming," one faculty member tweeted.
\u201cToday I found out lots of adults have lots of real strong feelings about who wins Homecoming. Since they care about what goes on at our school so much, I look forward to seeing them on campus contributing to WSHS real soon!\u201d
"Here's the thing: it's Brandon's right to run for homecoming court under Title IX," Principal Holland added. "It's the students' choice of who they want to support as homecoming royalty. I'm exceedingly proud to be the principal of our amazing school,"