Gay Teen Prom Queen

The YahooNews headline “Openly gay teen voted prom queen at LA high school” did its intended task of enticing me to click to read the AP story:

An openly gay teen was voted prom queen at Los Angeles’ Fairfax High School in a campaign that began as a stunt but ended up spurring discussion on the campus about gender roles and teen popularity. Sergio Garcia, 18, was crowned queen Saturday night at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

“I feel invincible,” Garcia said in his tiara and charcoal-gray tuxedo.

A few days earlier, he gave a speech that won over some cynics and led to an ovation and his unlikely victory.  “At one time, prom may have been a big popularity contest where the best-looking guy or girl were crowned king and queen. Things have changed and it’s no longer just about who has the most friends or who wears the coolest clothes,” Garcia told a gymnasium full of seniors. “I’m not your typical prom queen candidate. There’s more to me than meets the eye.”

Garcia assured the crowd he wouldn’t wear a dress on prom night. “I will be wearing a suit,” he said. “But don’t be fooled, deep down I am a queen.”

I’m not sure what to think of this.  On the one hand, the kid wanted to be prom queen and the other students voted for him, whether out of solidarity, jest, or some combination of factors.   On the other, this just seems weird. Doesn’t the school have some bylaws specifying that prom queens should be chicks and prom kings dudes?

For that matter, while I recognize that different subcultures have variation within them, this wouldn’t seem to be helping convey the message that gay males are otherwise perfectly normal men who simply prefer having sex with other men rather than the customary opposite sex.

UPDATE: Commenter PD Shaw suggests the question should be “Why isn’t he the King?”  Quite.   The kid isn’t transgendered; he’s homosexual.

Photos: Cindy Casares

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. PD Shaw says:

    I see a gender discrimination suit coming. No women?

  2. An Interested Party says:

    Anything outside of “normal” gender roles just drives some heterosexuals nuts, doesn’t it? Such a shame…

    …this wouldn’t seem to be helping convey the message that gay males are otherwise perfectly normal men who simply prefer having sex with other men rather than the customary opposite sex.

    So than straight men who dress up in drag for Halloween or for a costume party aren’t perfectly normal? Wow, the GOP really dodged a bullet last year, as someone like that wanted their presidential nomination! By the way, homosexuality is about more than simply having sex…spread the word…

  3. Triumph says:

    On the other, this just seems weird.

    This is the most disgusting thing I have ever heard of–we need a constitutional amendment to protect the sanctity of the prom. Proms are one of the bedrock functions of American culture and to see it despoiled by such an act is un-American.

    It is not surprising that the Queen is named Sergio GARCIA–a name that is not part of natural English.

    Lets remember, however, that this is taking place in Los Angeles, California–a town home to such liberals as Henry Waxman and Manny Ramirez and a state that is home to torturer Nance Peolosi. What else are we to expect from such a morally-debased place?

  4. James Joyner says:

    Anything outside of “normal” gender roles just drives some heterosexuals nuts, doesn’t it?

    Things can be perceived as “weird” and not “drive [one] nuts.”

    So than straight men who dress up in drag for Halloween or for a costume party aren’t perfectly normal?

    Uh, sure. This is a man running for prom queen.

    Dressing up as Superman for a costume party = normal.

    Dressing up as Superman to go grocery shopping = weird.

  5. PD Shaw says:

    I think James’ question is why isn’t he the King?

  6. I don’t have a problem with this (and yes, I am one of those knuckle dragging troglodytes against gay marriages … at least when the ‘right’ is imposed by a court).

    Absent any bylaws (which if they existed I suspect they would have been used, if nothing else by a passed over female contender), what we have here is someone making their case and letting the relevant legislative body (here the students) make the decision. If they were persuaded against the ‘disquiet’ that James expresses, fine. I suspect that the school may find it is subjected to ridicule . Can you imagine any rival school not using this as a taunt in next years games? But maybe the seniors don’t care as they will be out of there.

    This is the way social change is supposed to work, with the affected citizens voting directly or indirectly through their representatives for something different.

  7. sam says:

    UPDATE: Commenter PD Shaw suggests the question should be “Why isn’t he the King?” Quite. The kid isn’t transgendered; he’s homosexual.

    Ah for Pete’s sake, guys, he ran for prom queen:

    Garcia assured the crowd he wouldn’t wear a dress on prom night. “I will be wearing a suit,” he said. “But don’t be fooled, deep down I am a queen.”

    QueenED.

  8. just me says:

    I don’t think this is a huge issue-it is a student run and student voted election and he won, but I do wonder why a homosexual needs to run for prom queen and not prom king given that he is a male. Seems to me this feeds stereotypes more than alleviates them. I almost think it would have more significance had he won prom king as it is, since I figure some people voted for him because of the novelty not necessarily because they thought he should win.

  9. Megan says:

    I think the key quote as to why he ran for the prom queen instead of prom king is this:

    Garcia said he saw fliers advertising the prom and the election, and they didn’t specify that the queen must be a girl. He thought the role would suit him better than prom king.

    “I don’t wish to be a girl,” he told the Los Angeles Times. said. “I just wish to be myself.”

    The point being that for some people the gender binary is not applicable. It’s not always male or female (or, for that matter, transgendered male or transgendered female).

  10. Gustopher says:

    Perhaps his boyfriend was running for Prom King.

  11. An Interested Party says:

    Uh, sure. This is a man running for prom queen.

    Dressing up as Superman for a costume party = normal.

    Dressing up as Superman to go grocery shopping = weird.

    I made that comparison for two reasons…dressing in drag is not dressing as Superman, but rather, dressing in the clothes of someone from the opposite gender…and this is a singular event…he’s not the prom queen of the grocery store…

  12. Steve Plunk says:

    It’s obvious to me the kid is an attention whore. It’s not about being gay or feeling left out as much as it’s getting maximum attention. That sort of behavior is what turns people off.

    Okay, I’ve put the target on my back. Fire at will.

  13. An Interested Party says:

    It’s obvious to me the kid is an attention whore. It’s not about being gay or feeling left out as much as it’s getting maximum attention. That sort of behavior is what turns people off.

    Oh, so that’s why so many people dislike Newt Gingrich…

  14. Grewgills says:

    It’s obvious to me the kid is an attention whore.

    and that’s different from the average prom queen how?

  15. Eric Florack says:

    Much is explained in the comments, not necessarily on the topic at hand.

    James:

    Commenter PD Shaw suggests the question should be “Why isn’t he the King?” Quite. The kid isn’t transgendered; he’s homosexual.

    That’s how he wants it pronounced. Didn’t we just have this discussion?
    [/snark]

  16. HiItsNino says:

    “why isn’t he the King?”

    Let me answer the obvious: Any guy who wears a tiara is a queen.

    I’m just glad at his age he is able to be so comfortable with himself. Kudos to the other kids at his school too, as they seem to not mind either.

  17. anjin-san says:

    Different strokes for different folks. Maybe the kids now are just a little less hung up than we were…

  18. Um. “Queen” is a word for male homosexuals. So it was a linguistic statement, not one about gender roles.

    And the kids thought it would be interesting to have a male prom queen.

    And this is Los Angeles.

  19. davod says:

    “Lets remember, however, that this is taking place in Los Angeles, California–a town home to such liberals as Henry Waxman and Manny Ramirez and a state that is home to torturer Nance Peolosi. What else are we to expect from such a morally-debased place”

    This also happened at a university in Washington, DC.

    He and his husband will have fun in their later years, reminiscing with the kids about how they crashed through the gender barrier.

  20. Bill H says:

    “Um. “Queen” is a word for male homosexuals. So it was a linguistic statement, not one about gender roles.”

    Not entirely. It is the word for male homosexuals who display their sexuality in a certain rather flamboyant, usually overt, way. Those who are especially overt and dramatic in displaying that way of behavior are called “flaming queens.”

  21. cian says:

    I guess kids just want to have fun. Thank God.

  22. lunacy says:

    When I was a junior in high school the least attractive but sweetest cheerleader became prom queen. I think the upset came about because all the beautiful girls were so equally beautiful and equally bitches and all in the same clique that folks just opted out of choosing between them and voted for sweet MaryAnn.

    Maybe that’s the case here. Maybe all the female options were cliquish bitches.