Mar 26, 2017 11:10 AM EDT
University Of Minnesota Replaces Traditional Homecoming King And Queen Titles
University of Minnesota has replaced the traditional Homecoming King and Queen titles. The institution has opted to use the gender-neutral term "Royals."
This comes as colleges and universities are urged to ramp up efforts on diversity and inclusion, including making way for the LGBTQIA community to feel more accepted in the campus. Moreover, the winners of Homecoming will no longer need to be one biological male and one biological female.
Instead, according to the University of Minnesota's official website, the school will be choosing the best student representatives regardless of gender. The "Royals" will now be any combination of any gender identity.
The initiative is part of UM's promotion of inclusion. The group in-charge, Student Unions & Activities, is looking for high-spirited, dedicated and enthusiastic students to fill the crowns.
The winners will serve as the university's ambassadors of school spirit and pride. The two students will also be rewarded with a scholarship.
The Pioneer Press reported that UM will name 10 students to Homecoming court. However, for this year, the mix will no longer be required to have five men and five women.
The 10 students will be paired at random to compete in pre-Homecoming events. Their performance, as well as a university-wide vote, will determine their victory.
Devin Graf, a junior on the Homecoming planning board, said that the initiative tells transgender and gender nonconforming students that there is a place for them at Homecoming court. The change was sparked by parents complaints last year when a pre-Homecoming children's coloring contest named boy and girl winners from each age group.
This led to students and staff to think about ways to make Homecoming more inclusive. As a result, they agreed to remove gender specifications for Homecoming winners.
Teen Vogue described the initiative as a "win for gender inclusivity." Several universities have amped up their inclusion efforts. The University of Kansas gave students pronoun pins to help them easily make their preferred pronouns known to others while the University of Michigan gave students the freedom to choose their preferred pronouns.
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