Transgender Student Loses Battle to Be Put on Pa. School Homecoming King Ballot

Teen, who identifies as male, was voted onto homecoming queen ballot

A transgender Pennsylvania teen will not be allowed to run for homecoming king following a school board's decision not to weigh in on his dispute with the school.

"Honestly, I was again disappointed by the board. By not making a decision, they're sweeping this problem under the rug," Kasey Caron told

Caron, a senior at Richland High School in Johnstown, Pa., was told he could not be put on the ballot for homecoming king because his gender was listed as female on his driver's license. The 17-year-old identifies as male and plans to undergo gender reassignment surgery in the future.

When the high school administration denied Caron's request, he appealed to the school board. Caron argued that his driver's license had since been changed to reflect his identifying gender.

During a meeting Monday evening, the Richland School Board decided not to take up the appeal and deferred to the earlier decision by school administration.

The teen said he was told by the board that while the sex on his driver's license had been changed, his birth certificate, which is legally binding, still listed him as a female.

"Another transgender kid is going to come through this school again one day and there will be no precedent set for their case, and they will have to fight the same battle," Caron said.

The board said they would meet again to discuss the issue, but gave no time frame, according to Caron. He says the next scheduled school board meeting is set for October 7 -- two days after the high school's homecoming game on October 5.

Requests for comment from school officials were not immediately returned.

Caron was voted onto the homecoming court by his peers, but due to the decision, will appear on the ballot for homecoming queen.

"I still plan on attending, and if I happen to win queen, then I will just have to make the best of it," Caron said adding that he feels the homecoming vote is simply a popularity contest.

"The reason I fought this so hard, is for the simple fact that it's my right to run for king as much as it is anyone else's," he said. "It shouldn't even really be a fight."

This dispute is similar to another earlier this year in the Red Lion Area School District in York County.
In that case, a transgender student wanted his male name announced at graduation.

That student was allowed to wear a boy's-style black graduation gown, but school officials issued a diploma in his female birth name and announced his birth name because the diploma is a legal document.

While the homecoming fight may be over, Caron is still waiting to hear how they'll decide on three other LGBT related issues.

He's asked to be sat on the male side of the stage during graduation in the spring and be allowed to wear blue graduation garb, which is provided to male graduates.

Caron is also seeking the creation of a Gay-Straight Alliance at the high school and has asked that gender identity be added to the school's anti-discrimination policy.

"Just because I can't win this doesn't mean that it's over. We lost this battle, but there are plenty left for me to fight and I'm not backing down anytime soon," he said.

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

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