A western Pennsylvania school board is reviewing a request by a biologically female transgender student who wants to appear on the ballot for homecoming king.
The student, Kasey Caron, was disappointed that the Richland School Board did not immediately rule on the request Monday night, saying, “I thought they were going to have a change of heart. I am still hoping for one,” the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat reported.
Caron was denied a spot on the ballot after a driver’s license listed his gender as female, though Caron contends that has been changed to “male.”
But school board Solicitor Timothy Leventry said the state’s legal standard is higher and that there’s no doubt that Caron is legally female.
“The law defines whether a person is male or female,” Leventry said. “If you want to change legally to be a male in Pennsylvania, you have to have been certified by a physician who is qualified, and you have to have your birth certificate changed.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean the school board might not allow Caron on the ballot for homecoming king, however.
“Administration, based on advice of counsel, believes as a female, you have to be on the female ballot,” Leventry said. “If the school board wishes to change that, they have the right to do that.”
John DeBartola, president of the Keystone Alliance-Gay Life Newsletter, said, “It is important that we respect their rights of choice, the rights for them to be the person that they are.”
The school board expects to discuss the matter in executive session in time to vote on Caron’s request at its Sept. 23 meeting. The homecoming game is Oct. 5.
The dispute is similar to one earlier this year in the Red Lion Area School District in York County.
In that case, a transgender student wanted his male name announced at graduation. That student, who is also biologically female, was allowed to wear a boy’s-style black graduation gown, but school officials issued a diploma in his female birth name and announced his birth name because the diploma is a legal document.