Trangender student Andy Moreno wasn’t among the three finalists for homecoming queen at North Dallas High School announced Monday, according to her sister, Daisy Moreno.
Daisy Moreno told Instant Tea that according to poll watchers and friends on the counting committee, Andy received more votes than at least one of the three finalists. However, based on the principal’s previous decision, school officials didn’t allow votes for Andy to count.
Another transgender youth who also identifies as female was nominated for homecoming king and won, Daisy Moreno said. The school allowed the other youth to run for king because she was born male. Students will choose the homecoming king and queen from among the finalists on Friday, Oct. 15.
Queer LiberAction is reportedly planning a protest of Andy’s exclusion from the ballot.
The Canadian Broadcasting Company saw the story about Andy’s homecoming bid on Dallas Voice’s website and interviewed her Monday afternoon. The report is scheduled to run on NPR in the United States.
It’s unclear whether Andy would have a winning case if she brought legal action against the school or the district, according to Ken Upton, a senior staff attorney at Lambda Legal in Dallas.
Upton said recent federal court rulings have supported students’ right to dress consistently with their gender identity in other contexts, but he couldn’t recall one that dealt specifically with homecoming. In Indiana, for example, a school district recently changed its policies and settled a case brought by a trans student who wasn’t allowed to wear female attire to the prom.
“In this type of a situation, there would probably be some federal arguments you could make,” Upton said. “It would depend a lot on the circumstances of the homecoming event, and whether it was truly just extracurricular or whether it was related to the curriculum of the school. But as a general rule, the federal law has been in some cases protective of students who kind of buck the gender norms or bend the molds and administrators don’t like it.
“I think it’s something we’re seeing more and more of, because students are increasingly becoming comfortable in their own skin in situations where five or 10 years ago, they would have been scared to death to be themselves,” he said.
Upton added that regardless of the legal implications, he doesn’t understand the school’s motivation.
“What’s the harm?” Upton said. “Especially in the context of proms or homecoming, I always wonder, what really is the objection? And that’s the question that I’ve never gotten a satisfactory answer to. You [the school district] might win a lawsuit, but why would you care, and why would you expend so much energy on something like this? You’ve got bigger problems.”
Online editor John Wright contributed to this article.