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William & Mary Elects First Transgender Homecoming Queen

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Daily Press: WILLIAMSBURG -- History was made without fanfare on Saturday.

Jessee Vasold, William and Mary 's first transgender homecoming queen

Jessee Vasold, William and Mary's first transgender homecoming queen, took the field at halftime of the Tribe's game against James Madison wearing a red shirt, black pants and a small silver lip ring to applause and not much other notice.

Vasold, a junior, and the other members of the homecoming court were introduced to the crowd, posed for pictures, and walked off the field.

"I knew I was nominated, but I was just surprised, because there were a lot of other really good candidates on the ballot," Vasold said. "I know all of the other girls, and they're wonderful people, really friendly. So I was surprised."

Vasold identifies as "gender-queer," a catch-all term for those who identify with something other than traditional male or female gender roles.

"Normally, it really just depends on the day, how I dress," said Vasold, who prefers gender neutral pronouns - "ze" instead of he or she and "zir" instead of him or her. "I don't identify as a woman. It really just depends on the day and the occasion."

Vasold said family members were in town for homecoming, and while they have been "generally" supportive, some were unsure about Vasold's decision to accept the homecoming title.

"They're a little hesitant about this, but they realize that it's my choice to accept," Vasold said.

William and Mary president Taylor Reveley had no problem with Vasold's selection, made in nominations and voting by students.

"I knew Jessee before," he said. "(It's) a little more publicity than normal for a homecoming queen, but it's just fine."

Students were asked to describe how their nominees exemplified school pride, junior class president Mike Tsidulko told The Flat Hat, William and Mary's student newspaper.

Vasold is the student assembly undersecretary of diversity initiatives for the college's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs. Last year, Vasold was co-president of the Lamba Alliance, the school's GLBT advocacy group.

"I got a lot of support from the people I know," Vasold said.

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