Tulane introduces first gender-inclusive homecoming court

Deeya Patel, News Editor

Tulane homecoming weekend means football, music, alumni and a celebration of the Green Wave. And this year, a gender-inclusive homecoming court. 

Naomi Smith | Staff Artist

In the past, homecoming court consisted of 10 undergraduate seniors, half contesting for the title of homecoming queen and the other half contesting for the title of homecoming king. This year, with the help of the Tidal Wave Committee, Tulane’s student event programming committee, gender will not be a factor in determining the winners. 

This process began during last year’s homecoming, where the winners were crowned as royalty rather than king and queen. This year, all members who applied to court were considered together for 10 seats on the homecoming court. 

“The two individuals, regardless of gender identity, who have the top two highest amounts of votes for court will be crowned as Tulane Homecoming Royalty,” Jared Freifeld, a sophomore on the Tidal Wave Committee, said.

Maggie Pasterz | Staff Photographer
Cheerleaders perform during the Lighting of McAlister.

This past Monday, Oct. 28, the Lighting of McAlister kicked off homecoming week. The event included performances from campus a capella groups Tulane University Ladies A Cappella and Green Envy, a performance from the Tulane cheer team and the announcement of the homecoming court.

The members of this year’s homecoming court are John Alexander, Evan Doomes, Lauren Gaines, Albert Howell, Kate Moranski, Joseph Sotile, Meredith Galanti, Olivia Johnson, Lexi Frame and Jeresun Atkin. Court members are involved in a variety of organizations, including Undergraduate Student Government, Tulane Emergency Medical Services and Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, of which five homecoming court members are a part.

“It really is an honor to be voted onto court, especially considering the amazing students I’m on it with,” USG President Joseph Sotile said. “The work that Lauren Gaines did last year as Tidal Wave president along with the rest of her board to make this gender-inclusive court possible is fantastic, and its execution by the board this year is an important step in moving our campus forward.”

Maggie Pasterz | Staff Photographer
Members of the homecoming court cheer during the Lighting of McAlister

The change this year has been met with a contagious enthusiasm from other court members as well as recognition for a well-needed leap of progress at Tulane. 

“It’s helping people become who they are and feel accepted,” Albert Howell said. “It makes people feel a lot better to know they have a space that Tulane is trying — at least trying — to make. Because we’re not there just yet, but we’re trying. And this is one step forward.”

The royalty of homecoming will be announced this Saturday on November 2 at 3 p.m. at Yulman Stadium.

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