Gender-neutral Court Warming royalty is the right decision

Roze Brooks

UMKC is making great strides in gender inclusivity, but it seems students in attendance at this weekend’s Court Warming basketball game haven’t jumped on board.  When two males were announced as Court Royalty, an influx of close-minded and discriminatory statements followed.

For a campus whose student government recently passed a resolution supporting gender neutral housing, I fear the rest of the student body is not yet educated enough to provide the atmosphere that trans* and gender-nonconforming students need to feel included.

The decision to omit the gendered titles of Mr. and Miss UMKC was a choice based on a demographic of students who do not identify according to this gender binary.

Some have stated the previous titles were a tradition, but I don’t see anything that has changed about this annual event besides showing that UMKC is more progressive than other campuses—at least at the administration level.

Last year, Seto Herrera represented Pride Alliance (then Queer Alliance) and became Mr. Congeniality.  If Pride Alliance were to have presented another candidate this year, the chances of a gender non-conforming individual running for royalty court would have been very high.

Other students have attributed this title change as being an LGBT issue. It’s not.

While this can be viewed as a victory for the LGBT community, this doesn’t have anything to do with sexual orientation. This about is about gender identity and acknowledging that boxing in students to only being eligible for a title that implies they are male or female is anti-progressive.

I applaud the candidates who abided by the title change and did not promote themselves as running for Mr. and Miss, or King and Queen.  This was probably the fairest method of running this event because each candidate had a one in eight chance of being Court Royalty.  Everyone voting was able choose two candidates based on eligibility, not based on having to pick one male and one female.

I don’t feel the choosing of two males for Court Royalty oppressed any of the females running.

Everyone had the same chances of winning.  The inclusion of women in this competition puts them one step above those who were previously discouraged from running because of the gendered titles.

The responses to two males becoming Court Royalty imply a dependence on an antiquated pageantry lifestyle, one that goes beyond the confines of UMKC’s Court Warming Week.

Those who do not identify as male or female deserve to have a place in this event just as much as anyone else. This event is for UMKC students and its student organizations, not its males and females.

I’m sure students who disagree with the changes made by the Office of Student Involvement would be appalled if they were to be misgendered by another individual, especially if it is done so out of ignorance or apathy.

Congratulations to Maxwell Ramirez and Joshua Krueger. I hope you use your gender neutral titles to promote more acceptance on this campus and encourage others to understand why you’re both able to call yourselves Court Royalty.

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