+
More

A transgender student was told he couldn't run for prom king. He fought back and won something better.

A transgender student was told he couldn't run for prom king. He fought back and won something better.

A Georgia high school has adapted gender-neutral prom court terminology, after receiving public backlash for telling a student he could only run for prom queen because he was born a woman.

Dex Frier, who has identified as transgender since his sophomore year at Johnson High School in Gainesville, Georgia, was seriously ecstatic when he received one of six coveted nominations for senior prom king, an honor he was beyond excited about. "I was jumping up and down. Me and my best friend were losing our minds, we were so excited," Frier told CBS affiliate WGCL.

However, school officials told him that because he was assigned female at birth, he could only run for prom queen. He — along with his friends, the student body and others around the world — were not okay with that decision.


Frier and his friends started an online ballot challenging the school’s decision.

“Allow transgender boy to run for Prom King,” they dubbed the Change.org ballot, which quickly amassed over 32,000 signatures in a week from individuals around the world supporting their plea for inclusivity.

“Just because I’m not legally male I was going to get excluded from something that every guy has the opportunity to be in high school. It was really upsetting,” Frier, who is often referred to by his teachers with male pronouns, told BuzzFeed on March 21. “As a student I felt I had the right to be put on the ballot.”

He continued: “I don’t know of many trans people who go to this school [but] I don’t want anyone else to have to go through this. It hurts being told you don’t deserve the same rights as someone else because you’re not the same as them.”

The administration was hesitant to make the change, but eventually they came to their senses.

On March 23, the school struck a compromise with the student body. They agreed to change the terminology from Prom “King” and “Queen” to simply having two “Royal Knight” seniors, who could be voted in regardless of their gender identity.

“This plan was one of compromise on both sides, and we would like to thank administration, both at the school and county level, for listening and welcoming our concerns ― and most importantly, implementing a plan to address them,” Frier’s friend, Sam Corbett, wrote about the victory on Change.org. “We hope this petition has not only pushed society further towards human rights equality, but also inspired someone to do the same for an issue in their community.”

He continued: “Not only is that number a symbol of the united support of human rights, but also a testament to the power of the individual.”

Unsurprisingly Frier was named one of the Royal Knights of the evening. Instead of being given the traditional crowns and tiaras, he received a feathered mask.

[rebelmouse-image 19480146 dam="1" original_size="640x269" caption="Photo via Pixabay" expand=1]Photo via Pixabay

“It was amazingly overwhelming to win,” Frier told NBC. “They called my name, and all I could hear were my friends cheering for me. I just smiled extremely wide, and when I got to the bottom of the stairs, all of the people that had helped make this happen were either sobbing hysterically or smiling so wide I thought they would hurt themselves.”

Dex Frier’s experience isn’t just a personal win though. It’s a win for inclusivity. But we still have a long way to go.

Despite the reality that more and more teens today are identifying with non-traditional gender labels, many high schools and educational institutions have failed to adapt terminology and gender policies accordingly. However, there has been some progress made in recent years, signifying that things might be headed in a more gender-inclusive direction for children and teens.

Some of these include an Oregon high school introducing six gender-neutral bathrooms in 2013, a Kansas City school district deciding to go fully gender neutral when they renovated their elementary school bathrooms in 2018 and a Burlington, Vermont school debuting a gender-neutral locker room earlier this year.

At the university level, both Northwestern and Purdue have adopted a gender-neutral homecoming court, and the Chicago Tribune points out that many Chicago area high schools have also eliminated gender from their homecoming courts.

This latest triumph at Johnson High School clearly represents movement toward a more gender-neutral educational system. We can only hope that other schools can adapt their policies accordingly, and don’t have to wait for a situation like this to occur before taking action.

All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


It's hard to truly describe the amazing bond between dads and their daughters.

Being a dad is an amazing job no matter the gender of the tiny humans we're raising. But there's something unique about the bond between fathers and daughters.

Most dads know what it's like to struggle with braiding hair, but we also know that bonding time provides immense value to our daughters. In fact, studies have shown that women with actively involved fathers are more confident and more successful in school and business.

Keep ReadingShow less
Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Two couples move in together with their kids to create one big, loving 'polyfamory'

They are using their unique family arrangement to help people better understand polyamory.

The Hartless and Rodgers families post together


Polyamory, a lifestyle where people have multiple romantic or sexual partners, is more prevalent in America than most people think. According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, one in nine Americans have been in a polyamorous relationship, and one in six say they would like to try one.

However popular the idea is, polyamory is misunderstood by a large swath of the public and is often seen as deviant. However, those who practice it view polyamory as a healthy lifestyle with several benefits.

Taya Hartless, 28, and Alysia Rogers, 34, along with their husbands Sean, 46, and Tyler, 35, are in a polyamorous relationship and have no problem sharing their lifestyle with the public on social media. Even though they risk stigmatization for being open about their non-traditional relationships, they are sharing it with the world to make it a safer place for “poly” folks like themselves.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

All hail the mocktail: Growing demand makes non-alcoholic socializing a lot more fun

Sober bars and events are growing in popularity with delicious, grown-up alternatives to alcohol.

Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

Non-alcoholic drinks go way beyond club sodas and Shirley Temples.

For as long as there's been alcohol, there have been people who don't drink it. Some don't care for the taste, some don't like the buzz, some have religious prohibitions against it and some are recovering addicts who need to avoid it altogether.

Whatever reasons people have for not drinking, there's an unspoken attitude by some that they're missing out on a key part of social culture, especially when countless movies and TV shows portrays people winding down (or wooing one another) with wine and bonding over beers at bars. There's an air of camaraderie over sharing a cocktail or clinking champagne flutes together that's hard to capture with a basic Coke or sparkling water.

But what if you want that fun, social atmosphere without the alcohol? What if you want to go out and have fancy, alcohol-free drinks with your friends at night without being surrounded by drunk people? Where do you go for that?

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Touching video shows a new father joyfully singing while cradling his baby in the NICU

Seeing the baby raise his little hand moved the father to tears.

@fritojohnson89/TikTok

Little Remington listening to his father sing.

An incredible moment captured between a father and his newborn son has brought viewers to tears.

The viral video shows Daniel Johnson singing the worship song “Hallelujah Here Below” by Elevation Worship as he cradles his preemie son, Remington Hayze, in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Miraculously, as soon as Johnson begins singing a chorus of “hallelujahs,” Remington’s tiny hand raises as though he were carried away by the music. Seeing this, Johnson is instantly overcome with emotion and can’t finish the song.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Professional tidier Marie Kondo says she's 'kind of given up' after having three kids

Hearing Kondo say, 'My home is messy,' is sparking joy for moms everywhere.

Marie Kondo playing with her daughters.

Marie Kondo's book, "The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up," has repeatedly made huge waves around the world since it came out in 2010. From eliminating anything that didn't "spark joy" from your house to folding clothes into tiny rectangles and storing them vertically, the KonMari method of maintaining an organized home hit the mark for millions of people. The success of her book even led to two Netflix series.

It also sparked backlash from parents who insisted that keeping a tidy home with children was not so simple. It's one thing to get rid of an old sweater that no longer brings you joy. It's entirely another to toss an old, empty cereal box that sparks zero joy for you, but that your 2-year-old is inexplicably attached to.

To be fair, Kondo never forced her way into anyone's home and made them organize it her way. But also to be fair, she didn't have kids when she wrote her best-selling book on keeping a tidy home. The reality is that keeping a home organized and tidy with children living in it is a whole other ballgame, as Kondo has discovered now that she has three kids of her own.

Keep ReadingShow less