MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) - The ACLU of Michigan wants to take up the cause of a transgender Mona Shores High School senior who was denied a chance to become homecoming king.
"I'd be willing to talk to them," Oakleigh Reed told 24 Hour News 8 today.
Jay Kaplan, staff attorney for the ACLU's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Legal Project, said he took an interest in the case after seeing 24 Hour News 8's story on Reed , which aired Sunday.
"It raises some concern about how the school has chosen to treat people based on gender," Kaplan said.
Kaplan said he would contact the school, if Oakleigh agrees, to "alert the district to the laws. Hopefully, they'll reconsider the action that they've taken."
Oakleigh, who was born Oakleigh Marie but now goes by Oakleigh Marshall, is still listed in school records as a female. The teen plans to have a sex-change operation at age 18.
The student campaigned for homecoming king on Facebook -- a write-in election that took place on Sept. 17.
Mona Shores Principal Jennifer Bustard said rumors that Oakleigh got enough votes for king are untrue. There is no way to know because they stopped counting Oakleigh's votes.
"In order to be eligible for homecoming king, the ballot clearly states you must be a boy," she said. "For homecoming queen, you must be a girl."
"He, as I use the pronoun correctly out of respect, is not a boy."
When a student advisor told administrators that Oakleigh was getting votes, "we let the advisor know to nullify and not to continue on," Bustard said. "We just stopped (counting) when we noticed an ineligible person was running for that category."
"The school must be consistent when it comes to gender."
She wouldn't say how many votes Oakleigh had gotten before the counting stopped. "He received votes; that's all I'm going to share."
Some students believe the decision violates the school district's non-discrimination policy, which says the district "does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in its programs and activities."