Updated: Monday, 27 Sep 2010, 1:21 PM EDT
Published : Sunday, 26 Sep 2010, 9:47 PM EDT
MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) - Some Mona Shores High School students say administrators stole the homecoming king throne from the rightful winner -- a transgender senior.
The controversy is playing out in the school's hallways, and on Facebook.
Some classmates believe the crown belongs to Oakleigh Reed -- who was born as Oakleigh Marie, but who now goes as Oakleigh Marshall, or Oak for short.
In fact, friends have started a Facebook page, titled, "Oak is My King."
"It's the senior class that votes for their representative," Reed said. "What they did was taking away the voice of the senior class."
Assistant Superintendent Todd Geerlings said the issue is simple: The ballots gave two choices -- vote for a boy for king and a girl for queen.
And, in school records, he said, Oakleigh is still listed as a female.
The 17-year-old says the gender struggle has been life-long -- with sports, family and friends, even band camp. After years of counseling, Oakleigh plans a sex change operation at age 18.
Already, the school has made concessions.
"They let me wear a male tux for band uniform, and they're going to let me wear the male robe and cap for graduation."
Teachers, Oakleigh said, use male pronouns.
"They call me Oak, and they say, he, him, his," the teen said.
Oak, an honor student, campaigned for homecoming king on Facebook -- a one-day campaign.
"I just said, 'Vote for me for homecoming king.' I don't see why there's any reasons why someone who's different shouldn't be on court. I thought, 'Hey, why not put myself out there? I have just as much qualifications as anyone else in the school."
The campaign took off.
"I knew I had a lot of votes because people were telling me in the hallway, 'Hey, I voted for you, I voted for you.'"
Oakleigh was overwhelmed by the support of classmates.
Then, last Monday, the principal called Oak into her office.
"They told me that they took me off because they had to invalidate all of my votes because I'm enrolled at Mona Shores as a female," Oakleigh said.
Oakleigh was happy with the support from classmates, but "sometimes it's nice to have something tangible."
The teen's mother says she's angry.
"He was voted for homecoming king and, according to the votes, he should have been homecoming king, and it's just sad, and it just breaks my heart that all these people all voted and it was taken away, it was completely taken away from him."
The ACLU may enter this case . Oakleigh said he'd be willing to talk with them.