A high school in Gainesville, Georgia, has changed its prom policy so students cast their votes for gender-neutral "Royal Knights" as opposed to a prom king and queen.
The change comes after transgender student Dex Frier was told he couldn't run for prom king because he's not recognized as being "legally male". According to Insider, the story was picked up nationally at the time and became a talking point for equality and acceptance.
Frier (pictured center left), a student at Johnson High School, was shocked to discover his initial application for prom king had been rejected. He was called into a meeting with teaching staff who told him the news, which left him feeling justly upset. Rather than accept defeat, the teenager refused to run for prom queen, as had been suggested. Instead, with the support of his classmates, a petition was created. One of Frier's friends started the call to action, which quickly gained over 31,000 signatures.
The sheer size of the petition caught the attention of national media outlets, causing the school board to reconsider their stance. Introducing the "Royal Knights" was deemed the best solution, so teens of any gender can run for the titles.
While certainly a step in the right direction, Frier and his comrades felt like the school board's decision still fell short of the bar. Rather than introduce an entirely new gender-neutral title, the 17-year-old proposed that things should've been left the same but open to those who identify as either gender.
Frier and another member of his class won the title of "Royal Knight" at their prom, and were pleased with their wins regardless. The graduating senior at the center of the controversy enjoyed his success, feeling as though it was a victory in itself.
While the outcome may not have felt perfect for the class, it opened up a huge conversation nation-wide and forced many schools to look at their policies. After all, this is 2019 and the LGBTQ+ movement has gained more traction now than ever. Let's hope that Frier's petition and the changes made by Johnson High School will propel other schools to follow in their footsteps to become more accepting of students from all walks of life.
What do you think? Is prom king and queen a tradition that shouldn't be messed with, or an archaic symbol that should be left in the past? Let us know in the comments.