story by Kevin Shaw | photos by Greg Campbell
Times have definitely changed. When I was in high school, a boy didn’t dare admit he was gay, much less openly flaunt it near the school’s intimidating football players on their very own football field. That would be crazy! Wearing a formal evening gown on homecoming night and daring people to ridicule him would be perhaps the most insane thing a young man could do. But that was then. Now? As White Station High School’s Brandon Allen recently discovered, not only is it perhaps one of the coolest things you can do, it gets you accolades from every major publication in the world and even a phone call from the producers of a little TV show called Ellen.
When Brandon Allen switched to White Station High School a couple of years ago, it never even occurred to him that he couldn’t one day be candidate for his school’s title of Homecoming Queen. For two years, he signed up to be in the running only to be left out after being told by all his friends that ‘boys couldn’t sign up.’ According to them, it just wasn’t an option for him. Brandon’s mind didn’t compute. “What do you mean guys can’t sign up for it?”
Just before his senior year though, Brandon was willing to take his request all the way to the board of education until he decided to send the school’s newest principal (Carrye Holland) a final plea for consideration. Her reply? “Of course, you can be can be a part of this!” Although Brandon says he signed up because he’s always felt like a queen (so he wanted to run for the title of ‘Queen’), he agreed with the principal’s decision to change the title (now that it was open to all genders) to “Homecoming Royalty.”
Up against 15 others, all girls, Brandon had no idea that he would garner the majority of his classmates’ votes and receive the crown until it was announced on homecoming night. Brandon made the decision weeks earlier that he was going to wear his very first dress to the event in an effort to make an impression. According to Allen, “I wasn’t expecting to win, but I did know that at least I was going to leave leaving a mark!”
Surprisingly (or perhaps not surprisingly now that it’s 2019) none of Allen’s classmates or people in the community gave him any push back about his decision. His mother was his escort and her job was to make sure he looked good —“You can’t let your child go on that field looking like a hot mess!” It took some time for Allen to figure out which dress was going to fit him perfectly. “You can’t just be throwing on any old dress — you have to incorporate the booty, chest and waist. My best feature is my booty, but I was a queen on a budget!”
After high school, Allen plans on auditioning for American Idol and then America’s Got Talent. He’s not sure if he’ll wear a dress, but he’ll definitely be wearing his daily staple — high heels! Allen says he didn’t do any of this to “start a movement.” “Don’t let anybody say you can’t do what you want to do. I don’t live my life to make a movement, but if it makes a movement, that’s okay too, and it looks like I might have started a movement!”