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Transgender student wants to be homecoming king, but school insists on queen ballot

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – A western Pennsylvania school board won’t let a student who was born female but identifies as male run for homecoming king.

The Richland School Board didn’t rule on Kasey Caron’s request Monday night, but simply let stand an earlier decision by school administrators, which leaves the 17-year-old senior on the ballot for homecoming queen.

“No formal action is required due to the board agreeing with the previous decision of the administration,” board Solicitor Timothy Leventry said, reading from a statement.

The student’s mother, Kathy Caron, said she was disappointed by the board’s action.

“My heart sunk a little,” Kasey said.

Kasey’s driver’s license has been switched from female to male, but Leventry has previously said that Pennsylvania law requires a person born female to have a physician certify a sex-change operation and have the birth certificate changed to legally be considered male.

Kasey was diagnosed at a young age with polycystic ovary syndrome. Among other things, it can cause females to produce higher-than-normal levels of male hormones, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office on Women’s Health.

Kathy Caron also read a statement asking the school board to consider three other issues: allowing Kasey to wear the same color cap and gown as male students at graduation; adding gender identity protections to the district’s anti-bullying policy; and creating a gay-straight alliance at the high school.

Board president Michael Bodolosky said the panel would take those issues under advisement.

“I expected it to be a little more of a discussion rather than flat out telling me they’re going to take their own time,” Kasey said. “I guess I’m going to have to wait.”

The dispute is similar to one earlier this year in the Red Lion Area School District in central Pennsylvania, where a transgender student asked to be identified by a male name at graduation. That student was allowed to wear a boy’s-style black graduation gown, but school officials issued a diploma in the student’s female birth name and announced the female name at commencement because the diploma is a legal document.

Kathy Caron said friends and family will continue to support Kasey.

“I love my son, and my son is the most awesome,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

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