Brandon Allen was named homecoming royalty. (White Station High School/ Facebook)
A senior at a Memphis, Tennessee, high school was named homecoming royalty, and a photo of him receiving his crown in a beautiful gold, sequinned dress has gone viral.
Students at White Station High School voted for Brandon Allen, who identifies as gay, to receive the homecoming crown and sash.
The school posted the photo of Allen looking stunned and holding a bouquet of flowers on its Facebook page, and it has so far been shared more than a thousand times.
The school also shared the picture on Twitter, where it has been like more than 4,000 times, but reactions have been mixed.
We crowned our 2019 Homecoming Royalty tonight. Congrats to senior Brandon Allen! pic.twitter.com/TslNnCqRdc
— White Station High (@SpartansWSHS) September 28, 2019
Many offered their congratulations and praised Allen, with one alumnus writing on Twitter: “Proud to have gone to school here. I’m so happy for him and hope he had a great night.”
Another said on Facebook: “Congratulations! Brandon you look beautiful and your school is awesome. I bow to you and your classmates for the amazing young adults that you are.”
However others called the photo “sickening,” “weird” and “an embarrassment.”
But the school’s principal, Carrye Holland, defended Allen on Facebook. She wrote: “It’s the students’ choice of who they want to support as homecoming royalty.
“I’m exceedingly proud to be the principal of our amazing school. You don’t have to agree but disrespectful comments will be deleted.
“WSHS loves and supports everyone regardless of who they are or what they believe. Thank you for the love and light from so many of you.”
…based 100 percent on student votes. As Superintendent, I support student voice and expression.
— Dr. Joris M. Ray (@SCSSuptRay) September 29, 2019
The superintendent of Shelby County Schools in Memphis backed the principal and wrote in a statement on Twitter: “Shelby County Schools policy prohibits discrimination, and the District is committed to ensuring a positive and respectful school environment where everyone is treated with dignity.
“Homecoming queen and king is a tradition based 100 percent on student votes. As Superintendent, I support student voice and expression.”
Earlier this year, a trans homecoming queen was crowned at a Georgia high school and she said she hoped her experience would “inspire trans youth.”