LGBTQ+ and Gender Identity Representation at Kaneland

From left to right, there is the bisexual, transgender, LGBTQ+ and pansexual flag. Each flag represents different identities, and not all flags that exist are present in this image.

From left to right, there is the bisexual, transgender, LGBTQ+ and pansexual flag. Each flag represents different identities, and not all flags that exist are present in this image.

     Kaneland High School has taken several steps towards a fight for gender and LGBTQ+ representation by making many changes throughout the school grounds, this includes the way students are recognized at Homecoming, which might impact the way people view the longstanding traditions associated with that dance.

     Several students in classrooms and in the hallways of Kaneland have been discussing the alternative names for the Homecoming King and Queen. One student in particular, sophomore Cosmo Gaddis, views the change favorably. 

     “I think the decision to change the King and Queen to Royal Knight and Court is incredibly inclusive and accepting,” Gaddis said. 

     In Gaddis’ case, as someone who is a part of the LGBTQ+ community, this scenario is something that brings acceptance among students and staff. The change of the Homecoming King and Queen to the Royal Knight and Court was due to the works of the Student Council and administration. The school decided to modernize the use of rewards during Homecoming. 

     The protocol for the Royal Knight and the Court is as follows: male, female or anyone identified as neither can be rewarded with being the Royal Knight or a spot on the Court. There isn’t a defined rule on who can be which role. For example, two females can take each role. 

     In some people’s minds, this change could be something that breaks apart the traditions of the past few decades. For sophomore Aidan Bobé, this is the case.

     “I think it (the name change to Royal Knight and Court) does kind of breach tradition, but then again, I don’t care about Homecoming too much,” Bobé said.

     Other than the name change for Homecoming, there is also the awakening of the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). The club is a very welcoming and inclusive space for people who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as their allies. 

     The GSA meetings are on Thursdays from 3 to 4 p.m. through an online call. The club allows anyone to join, and it does not have a price. Their only wish is to have everyone feel respected and comfortable, and then to be open about whether they are or aren’t feeling that way. 

     Sophomore Rin Meagher, who is a part of the LGBTQ+ community, is someone who is appreciative and supportive of this club. 

     “I love that we do have the GSA. It feels like this school does care about their LGBTQ+ students. I also do think it’s necessary, as it is a safe space for LGBTQ+ to share anything that might bother them. It’s also nice having a club full of supporting people that also go through similar things,” Meagher said. 

     The GSA is one that is open to all students, and it doesn’t allow any conflict, discomfort or discrimination against its members, or anyone who attends Kaneland for that matter. The club is used to discuss concerns relating to the relationship between the LGBTQ+ community and the school, along with discussing ways to make the school more inclusive. 

     Other than the GSA and the name change to the Royal Knight and Court for Homecoming, there is another way in which Kaneland has opened its grounds to a diverse range of students. 

     There may be a lack of awareness regarding the presence of gender-neutral bathrooms at Kaneland due to the fact that they are secluded from many of the other restrooms. There are, however, two such bathrooms. One is located in the office, and the other is near the blender close to the C hallway. These bathrooms can be used by anyone, but students need to ask for permission in advance to use them. Each bathroom is for a single person and holds only one toilet and one sink.

     Kaneland High School has evolved into a place that has gender-neutral bathrooms, a GSA as well as a more modernized reward name usage for Homecoming. There are multiple positive and negative outlooks on this change to Kaneland, but there are still changes people believe should be made.

     Plenty of students believe in the fact that Kaneland doesn’t have enough gender representation. Sophomore Amelia Jensen, expresses how she finds that there isn’t enough representation.

     “I don’t see or hear of much gender representation unless I overhear other students talking about it. Even that is not very common,” Jensen said.

     Many students at school believe there is little to no representation of gender or LGBTQ+ education or history at Kaneland. Many do see that there has been the rise of the GSA as well as the name change at Homecoming, but people still believe that more action needs to be taken to create a much safer environment for LGBTQ+ members. 

     Meagher believes that LGBTQ+ content could be seamlessly integrated into certain curriculums.

     “It spreads awareness about problems the LGBTQ+ community faced in history and the problems that we still go through today. I also feel like educating everyone on these topics will help create a better understanding of the community in general,” Meagher said. 

     Many students do realize that Kaneland is evolving to accept the normalities of the modern world, but many still believe there is more to be done. Others don’t think much needs to be changed due to traditions of the past. There are many conflicting opinions on this matter, but the creation of the GSA, the Royal Knight and the Court name alteration and the reveal of gender-neutral bathrooms is revolutionary at Kaneland.