Homecoming King candiate Josie Herrera

Hi there, there was some discussion awhile back about Josie Herrera, who is genderqueer, being selected as a Homecoming King candidate. She is a junior journalism student from Miami, and the Missourian did a story on her which you can find here:

Since the story's only free for 24 hours, I thought I'd excerpt a bit of it:

COLUMBIA — Josie Herrera is heavily involved at MU: leading an Alternative Spring Break trip, serving on two Tap Day societies and participating in a sorority. When Herrera decided to apply for Homecoming royalty, getting involved became more complicated.

As a student who identifies as "gender queer" — as neither man nor woman but encompassing parts of both — Herrera was stuck with choosing between running for king or queen.

"I got there, and it was two different sheets, men and women," Herrera, a journalism student from Miami, said. "So I signed up anyway under the men's category."

"I’m really excited to represent myself, as just a person, but at the same time I’m very multidimensional," Herrera said. "I’m really excited to represent a lot of communities I’m a part of ... I’m first-generation American Latino, I’m a part of the queer community, I’m a foreign language speaker — I’m not actually a native English speaker either (Herrera learned to speak English at age 4) — and I’m really excited to represent those communities."

Todd McCubbin, executive director for the Mizzou Alumni Association, said the rules regarding Homecoming Court eligibility were unclear when it came to transgender issues. For Herrera, he and Aly Friend, who coordinates student programs for the association, had to interpret the situation.

"I think the biggest thing for us, too, along with the identification issue with Josie, was the alumni association and Homecoming want to be as inclusive as possible for the campus community and everything that we represent," McCubbin said. "That was certainly at the forefront of our mind when we were discussing the situation."

After asking advice from alumni and others, McCubbin said they decided "it was best to let a student compete in the category that they identified with most" and that it was "a very comfortable decision to reach."

There's also a Q&A here:

I didn't want to post this in a main story stream and derail any other conversation, because I understand gender issues are something that people can feel uncomfortable about or have other strong feelings about it. My goal in posting this is to provide some information, not necessarily to have a forum for discussion, although of course that's up to the community.

There are strong opinions on this, I have no doubt, but let's be respectful of one another.

thanks, and M-I-Z

— jschooltiger

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