A transgender high school senior will ask his Pennsylvania school to allow him to run for homecoming king at a school board meeting tonight, after the school cited state law in telling him he had to register on the female ballot, since his driver's license lists him as female.
Kasey Caron, 17, was assigned female at birth but identifies and presents as male, according to a comprehensive series of articles at The Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown, Pa. Caron has a lifetime of experience being a gender-nonconforming person, and he told the Tribune he fielded the question "Are you a boy or a girl?" throughout his childhood.
But for the bulk of his four years at Richland High School in Johnstown, Caron's teachers and classmates have recognized him as male. When a guidance counselor suggested he enter his name for homecoming king at the beginning of the school year, Caron thought Richland was finally ready to affirm his gender identity.
"He was so excited," Caron's girlfriend told the Tribune. "Not only just because people were accepting him, but he knew he had a good chance of being king, because of all the support he was getting. He was so happy."
But on the day the student body was scheduled to vote for the homecoming court, administrators told Caron their legal counsel had informed them they were required to list Caron's name on the female ballot, because he is legally identified as female on his driver's license. Caron plans to clinically transition once he turns 18. But to be able to change his legal gender, Caron must be an adult, according to state law.
Even though Caron was listed as female on the ballot, Richland students voted him onto the homecoming court. Recognizing Caron's "unique situation," administrators told him he could attend the homecoming parade with a date of his choice, rather than automatically pairing him with another male student running for homecoming king.
Caron's family, including his two moms, his father, his siblings, and his transgender godmother in Maryland, are standing behind him. Caron is scheduled to speak at a school board meeting tonight, where his supporters are expected to turn out in force — wearing blue to show their solidarity. His mother, Kathy, expects more than 200 people to attend the hearing to support her son.
Caron himself told The Advocate he's eager to continue his positive track record as a strong, effective advocate for LGBT youth. At the beginning of the school year, Caron set a personal goal to establish Richland's first gay-straight alliance. But now Caron, an honor student and drum major, says the need for an LGBT-supportive environment is even greater.
"I'm really hoping the school board will have a change of heart on the matter," Caron told The Advocate via Facebook. "Not only for me and my sake, but to set the standard for schools everywhere that transgender students and really all LGBTQ students deserve the same privileges and respect as anyone else."
Another transgender high school senior in Pennsylvania lost his battle with school administrators to have his preferred male name read at graduation last school year. Issak Wolfe reportedly skipped his own graduation from his Red Lion Area School District high school after officials agreed to let Wolfe wear the cap and gown designated for male students but refused to read the teen's preferred name at his June graduation.