Every year, more schools are doing away with traditional homecoming kings and queens, instead opting to recognize students in other, more meaningful ways.
Awarding gender-based titles can come across as insensitive and exclusive in today’s social climate, especially considering many students here at Bradley identify outside of the gender binary. Our homecoming program should reflect these differences and unite the entire student body instead of a tradition that marginalizes those who don’t fall under male or female gender identities.
It seems that, whether people want this change or not, this is inevitably where Homecoming titles are headed. Purdue and Northwestern have already started this transition away from the title of homecoming king and queen, with Northwestern awarding “Homecoming Wildcat” since 2017 and Purdue announcing two individuals as “Homecoming Royalty” since last year.
Bradley should take a step and begin this transition ahead of other schools in our region, as opposed to waiting for a school like ISU to do it first.
Homecoming queen and king carry a connotation of popularity and superiority. While the title carries weight socially, most people aren’t going to put that on a resume.
Instead, if the title of the distinction was changed to the “Lydia Legacy Award,” that would give Bradley the opportunity to recognize a student for aspects such as determination and community involvement that our founder, Lydia Moss Bradley, displayed herself. It showcases the unique values of our campus succinctly.
Twelve individuals can be in the running for the title of a “Lydia’s Legacy,” throwing out the requirements of six men and six women to be selected. Instead, it is the two individuals with the highest number of votes. This opens up the opportunity for LGBTQ+ couples to be placed.
The contest then becomes something less social and more philanthropic. It would serve as a reminder that the individual or individuals selected for this award should have something more than mere likeability on their side.
While it may not make the biggest impact, it’s the small things that can build up to a welcoming campus to all identities that have gone under-recognized in recent years. As a student body, let’s work to remedy this issue with a push in the right direction.