Transgender Kenosha student fights to run for prom king

Transgender high school student Ash Whitaker wins battle to run for Prom King

More stories from Alyssa Anderson

Getting Weird
December 13, 2018

Photo by Alyssa Anderson

ransgender Sixteen-year-old Ash Whitaker from Kenosha fights against his school to run for prom king.

Sometimes being yourself isn’t easy, especially when the people you look to for support try to deny your identity.

When Ash Whitaker, 16-year-old transgender student at Tremper High School in Kenosha, decided to run for prom king, his school chose to fight back.

According to ABC News, school administration initially insisted Whitaker only be allowed to run for prom queen since he is female-bodied, blatantly resisting and discriminating against his transgender identity.

Luckily, after several protests and a petition with nearly six thousand signatures of support, ABC News said the school board has decided to allow Whitaker to run for prom king.

“I am trying to run for prom king at my school, but am unable to due to my school’s resistance and insistent discrimination against my transgender identity,” Whitaker said in his petition on “In addition to this, I am unable to use the male restroom or receive respectful identification from said administration.”

According to ABC News, the decision was taken from the school board level to the district level, where officials announced that any individual running for prom court at Tremper will be listed under the ballot for the gender they identify.

Although he won the right to run for prom king, Whitaker is still restricted from using the male bathrooms and is forced to only use the single-stall bathrooms at the far ends of the building.

ABC News said Whitaker had been using male bathrooms all year long and was suddenly told he could not. As of now, the board has made no decision regarding this issue, but is said to be conducting research on the issue in order to reach one.

This situation disgusts me. All this boy wanted was to run for prom king under the gender he identifies with, and his school immediately shot him down. They completely ignored Whitaker’s identity, an identity that I’m sure wasn’t easy to come to terms with.

His decision to run as king instead of queen should not have been a question. Why is it so difficult for humans to accept one another? Whitaker should not have had to organize protests and write petitions in order for his identity to be recognized as valid.

He may be able to run for prom king, but that is hardly the issue. Whitaker is still forced to use single-stalled bathrooms, which are located at the far ends of his school building instead of using the bathroom that he feels comfortable using.

Transgender teens and adults continue to face discrimination and more than 50 percent of transgender youth will attempt suicide by the their 20th birthday, according to the Youth Suicide Prevention Program.

Whitaker may have won his battle, but many other kids like him are not so lucky. Hopefully, there will come a day when the world can accept everyone as they are.