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Transgender student is king to many high school peers

Oak Reed sitting on fence
Photo courtesy of Oak Reed
Oak Reed's ballots for Homecoming King were not allowed to be counted by Mona Shores High School

Oak Reed ran for Homecoming King at Mona Shores High School in Muskegon, but school officials tossed out Reed's ballots because, anatomically, Reed is not a male. That set off a national debate over transgender rights:


Michigan Radio's Nikki Motson reported that Reed "lives his life feeling like he was born into the wrong body." Motson talked with Nick Schrier, one of Reed's friends. Schrier described how it all started:

"The whole thing that prompted it is someone told Oak that a person like him couldn't be homecoming king or queen'. So, he kinda got a little upset and said, hey, why not vote for me' on his facebook status."

The votes came in, but they were never counted. Some students say if they were counted, Reed would have won.

School superintendent Terry Babbitt says he doesn't think they discriminated against anyone saying the ballot was clear,

"Pick one girl for queen and one boy for king."

The controversy has gained national attention and the ACLU stepped in sending a letter to the superintendent asking him to reconsider and come up with policies to deal with the issue in the future.

Lynn Moore of the Muskegon Chronicle reports that Reed posted a letter on a Facebook page addressed to the school saying,

"My intention was to never degrade the quality of our school district or make the students, teachers or administrators look bad, weak or malicious. I want everyone to know that I have the (utmost) respect for the school board, for they have worked with me to help make my high school experience as smooth as possible."

Moore writes that "Reed said that while officials made a 'bad decision' regarding homecoming, the district remains 'a very nurturing environment.'


Mark Brush was the station's Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.