LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A high school senior who lives in Tennessee just gave the title “homecoming queen or king” a whole new meaning. Brandon Allen just accepted the school’s gender-neutral title of “homecoming royalty.” The teen who’s gay and proud received the honor while rocking a tiara and a gold sequin gown.
“I always felt like I was a queen. I always felt like I am that; I am that business. I am that news. I am that ‘yes, I’m me,’ proclaimed Brandon Allen.
The 17-year-old White Station High School now calls it “Homecoming Royalty,” so that it can be a gender-neutral title voted on by Brandon’s fellow classmates.
A photo posted by White Station High School on social media that shows the shocked Brandon in his glittery gown quickly went viral, drawing thousands of shares and comments with both support and resisitance.
Responding to the criticism, the school’s principal says she is exceedingly proud and that the school loves and supports everyone regardless of who they are or what they believe.
Brandon says he has been bullied for being gay, but he wants to inspire others to be confident in their own skin.
“Don’t change yourself for nobody else,” Brandon said. “Don’t try to hide yourself all because some people might not except you because trust and believe you; there are going to be some people who don’t except you and you gotta be like oh I don’t care, I’m gonna do me, I’m gonna be myself truly and unapologetically.”
The school superintendent told CBS News the district prohibits discrimination, and that homecoming queen and king is a tradition based 100 percent on student votes.
Brandon says he is honored to be a figure who everyone is standing up for and is thankful for all the support.
CBS correspondent Jericka Duncan helped with the writing of this story.