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Transgender Student Fights to Be Homecoming King

The local school board could make a decision Sept. 23.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Steve Edson Photography, Inc

    A western Pennsylvania school board is reviewing a request by a transgender male student who wants to appear on the ballot for homecoming king.

    Kasey Caron, a senior at Richland High School in Johnstown, Pa., was denied a spot on the ballot after a driver's license listed his gender as female. Caron, who identifies as male and intends to undergo gender reassignment surgery, says the gender listing on his license has since been updated. 

    Caron presented the board with a request to be placed on the homecoming king ballot on Monday. He said he was disappointed that the Richland School Board did not immediately rule on the request Monday night.

    "I thought they were going to have a change of heart. I am still hoping for one,'' he said, the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat reported.
     
    School board Solicitor Timothy Leventry argued that the state's legal standard is higher and that there's no doubt that Caron is legally female.

    "The law defines whether a person is male or female," Leventry said. "If you want to change legally to be a male in Pennsylvania, you have to have been certified by a physician who is qualified, and you have to have your birth certificate changed."
     
    That doesn't necessarily mean the school board won't allow Caron on the ballot for homecoming king.
     
    "Administration, based on advice of counsel, believes as a female, you have to be on the female ballot," Leventry said. "If the school board wishes to change that, they have the right to do that."
     
    John DeBartola, president of the Keystone Alliance-Gay Life Newsletter, said, "It is important that we respect their rights of choice, the rights for them to be the person that they are."
     
    The school board expects to discuss the matter in executive session in time to vote on Caron's request at its Sept. 23 meeting. The homecoming game is Oct. 5.
     
    The dispute is similar to one earlier this year in the Red Lion Area School District in York County.
     
    In that case, a transgender student wanted his male name announced at graduation.

    That student was allowed to wear a boy's-style black graduation gown, but school officials issued a diploma in his female birth name and announced his birth name because the diploma is a legal document.