A friend and fellow William and Mary alum emailed me earlier today, responding to my earlier post on the scariness of messing with the gender line, and informing me that our alma mater had just elected a self-identified gender-queer as Homecoming Queen. Read all about it, right here in the school’s daily paper, The Flat Hat.
The student, one Jessee Vasold, is apparently a biological male who prefers not to identify as of either gender, but whose gender is nonetheless seen as sufficiently female for the students to have picked “zir” (the pronoun Vasold prefers to “him” or “her”) as Queen, not King.
Go, Tribe! The students, who apparently only regained the right to cast direct votes for these silly positions this year, likely have the governing Board of Visitors in a tizzy, already thinking about how they can prevent a similar trans-gression from taking place again. (Go to the Board’s site, and you’ll find men with III’s after their names — which, if I had to guess, wouldn’t usually be a number associated with much trans-contact. On the other hand, Bruce Hornsby’s wife (an alumna) is also a member.)
Oh, to be present at tomorrow’s Homecoming parade! Atop all of the parade watchers’ smart outfits, mouths will yawn agape and eyes will pop, cartoon-style, out of their sockets, as the college-donation-stopping Vasold floats past. (One commenter on the Flat Hat’s site made this point — angrily — about the spigot shutting off. I think, though, that most alums will get over it.)
Were the students being supportive, or ironic? Both, I’d say, but the whole thing is delightfully performative in the wise-guy tradition that I found appealing as a student. (Jon Stewart is the contemporary example of a W&M-educated smart aleck, but he has nothing on Thomas Jefferson, the Know-it-All who mooned the College by founding the competing UVA.) If you can’t send up Homecoming, what can you have fun with?