One high school student is going viral for receiving the homecoming title at his school… while wearing a dress.
17-year-old Brandon Allen is a student at White Station High School in Memphis, Tennessee. On this past Friday, the school itself posted a photo of Allen and congratulated him on being voted Homecoming Royalty. And in the photo where Allen was crowned, the high school student, who’s openly gay, is seen wearing not only a tiara but also a gold sequin off-the-shoulder gown.
“Thank you to everyone who has contributed to me becoming queen,” Allen wrote on his Instagram account after the moment. “You guys truly looked stunningly beautiful and I am so honored to have been able to walk with you guys!!”
We crowned our 2019 Homecoming Royalty tonight. Congrats to senior Brandon Allen! pic.twitter.com/TslNnCqRdc
— White Station High (@SpartansWSHS) September 28, 2019
White Station High School introduced a gender-neutral title to replace the traditional Homecoming King and Queen labels, according to NBC News. Between that and the award-winning moment for Allen, LGBTQ students and internet users have especially praised the Tennessee school.
“I personally find the decision to switch to a gender-neutral homecoming title to be a great idea, and one that’s been a long time coming,” 16-year-old transgender student Emmett Campbell, who took the above picture, told Instinct Magazine. “It was a good feeling to watch it happen. ”
Jonathan Van Ness of Queer Eye also praised the photo and moment on Twitter by simply saying, “What a beautiful picture.”
What a beautiful picture
— Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn) September 28, 2019
But, of course, it wasn’t all praise and celebration online. There were some angry commenters as well. Thankfully, some faculty and administration were ready to defend Allen.
“Today I found out lots of adults have lots of real strong feelings about who wins Homecoming,” wrote one teacher on Twitter.
Today I found out lots of adults have lots of real strong feelings about who wins Homecoming. Since they care about what goes on at our school so much, I look forward to seeing them on campus contributing to WSHS real soon!
— Rakestraw (@RakestrawAtWork) September 28, 2019
“Here’s the thing: It’s Brandon’s right to run for homecoming court under Title IX. It’s the students’ choice of who they want to support as homecoming royalty,” White Station High School principal Carrye Holland said on the photo of Allen.
“I’m exceedingly proud to be the principal of our amazing school. You don’t have to agree but disrespectful comments will be deleted,” the principal’s comment continued. “WSHS loves and supports everyone regardless of who they are or what they believe. Thank you for the love and light from so many of you.”
SCS Superintendent Joris Ray also commented on the story on Twitter, according to WREG-TV.
“Shelby County Schools policy prohibits discrimination and the District is committed to ensuring a positive and respectful school environment where everyone is treated with dignity,” Ray wrote. “Homecoming queen and king is a tradition based 100% on student votes. As superintendent, I support student voice and expression.”
“Principal Holland and Superintendent Ray both handled the situation well,” shared Campbell. “They have been under a lot of unnecessary scrutiny over Brandon’s big win, and I think that they both managed to respond in a way that managed to shut down the opposition using facts.”