Monday, October 25, 2004

To boldly go where no man has gone before 

On Thursday of Homecoming Week here at SCSU we were sent a note congratulating our Homecoming Royalty, crowned before " full house in Ritsche Auditorium" with 58 candidate who "went through interviews, participated in candidate games and received votes from the student body." We got names and nothing more; the name of the Homecoming Queen was Fue Khang of Minneapolis, representing the student senate.

It never dawned on me, or anyone else who read the article that did not have prior knowledge, that Khang is a man.


According to the Times report (Monday linkage)

About 750 of the university's 15,500 students voted, she said. Candidates are judged equally on how they do in interviews with university staff and in the student vote. Candidates also receive points for participating in games.

The judging formula that combines points from the interviews, vote and games is designed to make sure a candidate is serious and will represent the school well, said Jessica Ostman, director of university programming.

Ostman said it is uncommon for student groups to nominate a man.

Well, we certainly would hope so. So let's ask our student government why it would propose a man for queen.

His nomination was sincere, student government President Hal Kimball said.

Kimball said the student government does not support gender stereotypes.

"We don't like putting people in a box," Kimball said. "We don't discriminate. It's a beautiful world."

Yeah, man, beautiful. Just ask this mother of another candidate:

"It was such a disappointment," said Kim Ferber of St. Cloud, whose daughter Annie was a queen candidate. "I don't even want her going to the school if this is how it's going to be."
But Ms. Ferber, it's a beautiful world. And because nobody has filed a complaint with the University Programming Board, the decision stands.

I have no idea what Mr. Khang thought was to be proven by this. We already have a drag event on campus. Unless Khang is a transvestite, which you think someone would tell you in one of these stories, we don't know that this is anything more than a stunt, perhaps to mock the idea of a homecoming queen. At no point does anyone make this statement.

But more to the point: note the scoring of this. "The judging formula that combines points from the interviews, vote and games is designed to make sure a candidate is serious and will represent the school well" Could Khang have won this without the consent of the judges? Of course not. So how does one say Khang did anything wrong, if the judges of this event have allowed his participation and graded him ahead?

Given how student government -- and the university itself-- wishes to portray itself as progressive social justice warriors, you might as well suspect, as I do, that the school will be most pleased by this. A cross-dressing homecoming queen probably does "represent the school well". And so we'll advertise it here as well.

Come to SCSU: A school where anybody can be queen.

UPDATE: The University Chronicle story has a couple more choice quotes:

Khang said that this year, student government decided to run opposite with a
female nominated for king and a male nominated for queen.

"This is history in the making because this is the first time a guy was queen. I am very happy to represent student government," he said.

Some students were accepting of the turn of events."Well, there is no rule that said he couldn't run," said homecoming candidate Jennifer Gill, "So, do what you gotta do."

Other students were not so sure about it.Shelly Gerwing, a third-year student, thought it was sexist that three men and only one woman were crowned royalty. "I thought it was absolutely ridiculous that they let a man run," she said.

Not because a man was crowned queen, mind you, but that we didn't achieve gender balance. But that depends on the meaning of balance, perhaps?

Absera Abraham won the princess title. Abraham is also a member of the African
Student Association.

"It feels good (to be crowned princess) and it's a nice surprise," she said. "This is history in the making because all people of color won and we are only 4 percent of the student population."