Tuesday 30 November 2004

Yet more stupidity.

The ever-brilliant Tongue Tied reports the latest political correctness craze to sweep American schools:

Homecoming, the quintessentially American tradition featuring kings and queens wearing satin sashes and sparkly tiaras, is a tumultuous topic on campus these days.

Universities and high schools across the country, driven in large part by protests from gay students, are re-examining the ritual of crowning homecoming kings and queens ....

"Re-examining". Always a dangerous word in the hands of lefty activists: it generally means "trashing".

At Vanderbilt University in Nashville this month, a gay student who ran for homecoming queen and took his place on the court in drag at a football game caused a huge stir. In October, students at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota elected their first male homecoming queen. That student and the university administrators say they were barraged with hostile telephone calls and e-mail messages from alumni and parents.

I bet a few of those phone calls were from etymologists. "King" means "male monarch"; "queen" means "female monarch". This whole thing is like campaigning for the right to call peacocks "peahens".

"We always get Mr. Heterosexual Vanderbilt and Ms. Heterosexual Vanderbilt to be the perfect king and queen," said Everett Moran, 21, the gay senior at Vanderbilt who ran for homecoming queen.

Mr. Moran did not win the crown, but he was elected to the homecoming court, appearing at the college football game on Nov. 6 wearing a black dress with an Empire waist and elbow-length red gloves, accentuated by the yellow sash draped over each of the 11 homecoming court students. But he made plenty of enemies in the process, with critics loudly criticizing him in the college newspaper and elsewhere.

"When the gay community separates from mainstream, it's a way of disappearing into the shadows," he said. "I really just wanted to put it in everyone's face. I wanted to make alumni and students recognize that on this campus we have gay students, and as much as the administration wants to keep us in the shadows, off to the side and out of the limelight, I'm not going to stand for it."

Please, please! I'm a victim, too! I'm oppressed! Notice me! Notice me!

Look, I live six thousand miles away, and even I can't help but notice the gay students in American colleges, not to mention every other part of America. Perhaps Mr Moran is confusing "shadows" with "media".

Some high schools now hold separate gay proms. But gay students like Mr. Moran say that is not enough. They view homecoming as an opportunity to integrate gay students into a classically heterosexual ritual.

He's right that gays and straights shouldn't be separated, of course. Which kind of makes you wonder why he's trying so hard to separate himself. He seems to have a bit of trouble with the word "integrate".

[At] Hayward High School, in the San Francisco Bay Area, ... a straight girl was elected king last year; she ran for king because she did not want to compete with her best friend, who was elected queen.

Oh, boo hoo. Nothing to do with sexuality that time, then: the girl was just a spoilt brat who doesn't understand that the world doesn't revolve around her. One position; two candidates. Get used to it. I'd love to see the tantrum the first time she fails a job interview.

At another high school, Sweetwater, in National City, Calif., a lesbian was elected homecoming queen in 2001 and wore a tuxedo to the celebration.

Now, she's got the right idea. Clearly, no-one was discriminating against her (at least, not enough to stop her getting elected), but she's not taking the piss by trying to pretend she was born with a penis — which is one of the major requirements of kingship. She was elected queen. So she wore a tuxedo. Why shouldn't she? Good for her.

A gay male student was elected homecoming queen at Southwest Texas State University in 1999, the same year that another young man, also gay, ran for homecoming queen at New Mexico State University, prompting that student government, after a backlash, to rule that queens must be female and kings must be male. That rule was overturned in 2002 after a female student applied to run for king.

What is wrong with these people, that they actually think you need a student government to decide these matters? You don't. You need a dictionary.

[Kevin Jennings, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network] said that in the past year he had heard from a growing number of high school students inquiring about changing homecoming to include gays. "Boys are supposed to be with girls and so forth, but gay people are saying there's another way to be," he said. "For some people that's scary."

No, it's bloody not. Homecoming kings and queens aren't forced to mate with each other, so the issue here is nothing to do with whether boys are with girls or with other boys. Not once in the entire article is there any mention of a homecoming king being discriminated against because he's got a boyfriend — and there's no way the reporter wouldn't have mentioned it if she'd found such a story. The issue is a simple matter of what the words "king" and "queen" mean. I can't be an actress or a barmaid. It's nothing to do with rights. I have the right to be an actress. I just don't have the, er, prerequisites.

As an aside, I have to ask since when did being gay have anything to do with wearing dresses? I can remember a time when to suggest that gay men should dress as women was considered ignorant and insulting (which it is). It's not long ago that schoolboys would have nominated a gay student for homecoming queen as a deliberate insult. Gay campaigners have spent many years disassociating themselves from transvestites and drag queens and the stereotypes of gay men mincing around in high heels and lesbians wearing combat fatigues. Sure, some gay men are transvestites, but so are some straight men. I would be willing to bet good money that there are gay students at Vanderbilt University who are horrified by what Mr Moran is doing. The result of all the progress that has been made over the last few decades is that openly gay men now stand a decent chance of being crowned homecoming king. And now idiots like Moran are going to undo all that good, while claiming to be fighting the good fight.

If these guys want to wear dresses instead of tuxedos, fair enough. But don't try and tell me it's something to do with human rights for homosexuals, 'cause it really isn't.


Gary said...

> Sure, some gay men are transvestites, but so are some straight men.

Transvestism's largely a straight-man thing, as a quick look at any British comedy demonstrates :-)

Squander Two said...

I was going to write that, but, for all I know, it's out of date. The whole gay-men-wearing-sequined-ball-gowns-and-miming-to-disco-records scene seems to have taken off in recent years. Whether they now outnumber the traditional straight conservative transvestites, I have no idea.

Gary said...

I don't think scene stuff really counts though, does it? It's the difference between dressing as a ned for halloween and actually being a ned :-D

Andy said...

Perhaps a new position of homecoming "King's favourite" would resolve the matter.

Squander Two said...

> It's the difference between dressing as a ned for halloween and actually being a ned

That's your excuse, is it?

Incidentally, one bit of that article says:

>> there was far less rancor as the University of Washington crowned two homecoming queens this month but no king. The "royals," as the university now calls them, were two female students, neither one gay, whose titles were announced before a packed stadium when the Washington Huskies lost to the Arizona Wildcats. The university's students had decided that the $1,000 scholarships should be doled out on a "gender neutral" basis. <<

I have to say that that sounds entirely reasonable and sensible.

Gary said...

Excuse? I don't need an excuse!