Georgia high school boots trans student from prom king ballot

Students at a high school in Gainesville, Ga., nominated a transgender boy to be prom king, but the school reportedly removed him from the ballot. 

Johnson High School senior Dex Frier, 17, said he was one of six male students nominated for prom king, but school officials told him he could only be on the prom queen ballot, according to WSB-TV.

"They don't have a clear rule that says you have to be biologically male to run for prom king (or that) you have to be biologically female to run for prom queen. There is no rule that states that," Frier said.

Hall County Schools Superintendent Will Schofield told WSB-TV that the district has never removed a student from a prom or homecoming court. He also wouldn’t comment on Frier’s claims, citing “the privacy rights of our student body.”

"On a broader note, I am not interested in being responsible for placing our school district in the middle of a national social, societal and legal issue which would have the potential to substantially disrupt us from our core mission of providing an education for the boys and girls in our community. Prom should be a time for students to fellowship together and celebrate their local school.” 

Over 14,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Frier to remain on the ballot for prom king. A dueling petition calling for him to stay off the ballot has around 40 signatures.

The high school’s prom is Saturday.

Frier told the Gainesville Times that he began publicly identifying as a male during his sophomore year. Frier's grandmother and guardian, Lisa Frier, told the media outlet the family has had to learn about transgender issues.

“I haven’t always understood,” she said.

More important, however, is that he is treated with kindness and equity, she said. People are entitled to their opinion but not entitled to hurt others with it, she said.

“That’s really what the lesson is children need to understand,” Lisa Frier said.

She also supports his candidacy for prom king.

“I support Dex in the pursuit of happiness and well-being,” Lisa Frier said. “I think he’s gotten a little empowerment from this petition.”

Frier told Buzzfeed News the support he's received from fellow students has been "overwhelming."

"I have some of the most supportive friends I could ask for surrounding me — actually I’m surrounded about 12 people right now," he said, laughing, during his interview with BuzzFeed News. "They just wanted to listen in to make sure I'm OK."