The University of Oklahoma's homecoming court has gone gender neutral for 2021. First reported by KOKH, the student body and faculty selected Justin Norris and Reece Henry as their homecoming royalty, ditching the traditional binary-based titles of king and queen. Henry (3rd from left above) is straight, while Norris (2nd from right above) is gay.
"I was kind of shell-shocked at first," Henry said.
"It just made me feel very validated in my identity and loved by OU," Norris added.
Norris and Henry being were sashes to wear, replacing the traditional crowns.
The pair were chosen under a new selection format, recently put in place. On-campus organizations first nominated candidates for the homecoming court. School staff and faculty then weeded down the group to 12 students, who are then voted on by their peers. The two with the most votes, regardless of gender, were declared the school's homecoming royalty for the year. The new format was created to foster a more diverse court that more fully represents the entire student body, shunning the previous provess that devided the court into six guys and six girls.
'I'm sure there are so many queer students here on campus, white students, Black students who have been able to look at this court and see themselves in it and just really maybe think in the future not just I can be on the homecoming court, but I can really do anything I set my mind to here at OU and people are going to support me for it,' said Norris.
While Norman and Henry were only recently elected as homecoming royalty, they will have to wait a few months before presiding over the homecoming football game, as OU homecoming events don't take place until October 11-16 this year.