We’re cheering for Tulane’s first gender-neutral homecoming court

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We’re cheering for Tulane’s first gender-neutral homecoming court

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The honoring of a homecoming king and queen is a long-standing university tradition that has excluded students who identify outside of the gender binary. This year, Tulane has made a commendable effort to ensure that does not take place on our campus. 

The Hullabaloo is proud to see Tulane join a number of universities and schools around the country that have switched to a gender-neutral homecoming. 

For the first time in Tulane history, all graduating students, regardless of gender-identity, were able to participate in the homecoming royalty tradition. Instead of following a path to be crowned king or queen, students are on a path to be crowned homecoming royalty. 

Maggie Pasterz | Staff Photographer
Tulane’s 2019 homecoming court winners

All students who applied to court were considered in a single pool to be one of the 10 graduating students on the homecoming court. The two individuals, regardless of gender identity, who have the top greatest number of votes will be crowned Tulane homecoming royalty at Saturday’s football game. 

The hard work of student leaders, along with supportive faculty and staff, to make this change has not gone unnoticed. As allies, we thank you. 

We thank you for giving students the opportunity to walk on the football field and receive a crown they have earned because of who they are as a person — not because they fit into a pre-constructed gender identity. As alumni and family of the Green Wave gather this weekend, they will see a newfound dedication to creating an inclusive university for all students. 

The work does not stop here. Creating a campus that is safe for students who identify outside the gender binary is yet to come. After homecoming ends, places where gender non-conforming students feel celebrated are few. Housing is still not gender neutral, and there are still very few non-binary bathrooms across campus. Students will still return to a campus full of sports, Greek life and housing that fail to prioritize their inclusion. 

Through this change we see potential. We call on other offices to follow the lead of Tidal Wave, the homecoming committee, in an effort to include students of all gender identities in activities and traditions. 

The Office of Gender and Sexual Diversity is taking great strides in inclusion by having programs like LGBTQ+ Hxstory and Celebration Days, choosing to embrace different gender identities and sexual orientations throughout the semester.

But these programs should be more widely showcased instead of pushed to the end of a newsletter by the other, more popular programs on campus. By supporting these offices and their programs, Tulane can take more steps to better addressing gender equity on campus.

When Saturday’s football game begins, celebrate your homecoming court — a group of incredible students who worked hard to get where they are. A group of students who were not forced to conform to a gender label that takes away from who they are as people. Let’s celebrate the victories we have achieved and look forward to the ones yet to come.