U. of Wisconsin replaces homecoming king and queen with gender-neutral ‘Spirit Award’

U. of Wisconsin replaces homecoming king and queen with gender-neutral ‘Spirit Award’

The University of Wisconsin-Stout is scrapping a longstanding tradition of honoring a homecoming king and queen in favor of awarding eight students with a gender-neutral “Spirit Award.”

The school announced Thursday that, for the first time in 80 years, it will not crown a king and queen for its October 8 homecoming in order to avoid being held down by the dated gender binary.

“The new ‘royalty’ program provides an opportunity to recognize more students who can have a more meaningful role as ambassadors and not be bound by gender restrictions,” said Emily Ascher, campus activities coordinator, in the news release.

She went on to note that all students “have the capacity to strongly and proudly serve as representatives of campus,” saying that “restricting that role to a gender specific pair limits opportunities, both for our students and the program as a whole.”

The school announced its decision just one week before its 125th homecoming anniversary, and will select the eight recipients of the new gender-neutral award next week.

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