A high school student from Memphis, Tennessee is gaining widespread attention after winning the school’s homecoming crown. Brandon Allen accepted the title of “Homecoming Royalty” wearing a floor-length, glittering dress in the middle of the football field.
As a member of the homecoming court, the White Station High School student earned a small tiara, green sash and bouquet of flowers that complimented the off-the-shoulder dress. Allen won the title Friday night during the school’s football game.
White Station High School posted photos of Allen on Facebook on Saturday. The senior appeared shocked in the photos that captured the moment the title was announced.
A representative for White Station High School told CBS News that Allen’s title was “Homecoming Royalty” — a specifically gender neutral title.
While Allen’s choice to wear a dress turned heads and even received a few disparaging comments on Facebook, two prominent figures in the school district posted positive messages, defending the homecoming royal.
“Here’s the thing: It’s Brandon’s right to run for homecoming court under Title IX. It’s the students’ choice of who they want to support as homecoming royalty,” White Station High School principal Carrye Holland commented on the photo of Allen.
“I’m exceedingly proud to be the principal of our amazing school. You don’t have to agree but disrespectful comments will be deleted,” the principal’s comment continued. “WSHS loves and supports everyone regardless of who they are or what they believe. Thank you for the love and light from so many of you.”
SCS Superintendent Joris Ray also responded to the story on Twitter Saturday night, according to CBS affiliate WREG-TV. “Shelby County Schools policy prohibits discrimination and the District is committed to ensuring a positive and respectful school environment where everyone is treated with dignity,” Ray wrote. “Homecoming queen and king is a tradition based 100% on student votes. As superintendent, I support student voice and expression.”
Several other proud White Station High School students and alumni commented on the photo of Allen, congratulating the royal on the momentous honor.
“As a a member of the WSHS class of 1980 I think this is…FABULOUS!!!” one person commented. “Congrats Brandon! You make this Spartan proud!!”
“Brandon looks so happy! Congratulations! This is the most beautiful homecoming picture I’ve ever seen,” another person wrote.
“Love the gender neutral ‘Homecoming Royalty!’ This school is a real leader in the community and is setting a great example of love and inclusion. Congratulations Brandon!” another commented.
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