LGBTQ Activist Homecoming Queen Accused of Causing Disturbance with Pride Flag

Fewer rainbows, less social media for China's LGBT community
AFP

A Las Vegas, Nevada, high school LGBTQ activist who draped a Pride flag over his shoulders after being elected homecoming queen was reportedly accused by the school district of creating a disturbance.

Durango High School senior Josh Ocampo-Loresca, who media outlets are referring to as “they,” apparently claims to be “non-binary” in terms of “gender identity.”

KLAS 8 NewsNow reported Monday Ocampo-Loresca had been elected homecoming queen, pulled out a Pride flag, draped it around his shoulders in cape-fashion, and proceeded to give a spontaneous speech.

“I pulled out a pride flag that was hiding in my back pocket and put it around as a cape,” Ocampo-Loresca said, according to the news report. “I was walking down the stairs and I was swarmed with so many students. People were just rallied around me and wanted to hear me speak and what I had to say.”

Photos and video at KLAS and the Daily Mail show a raucous celebration at the school.

Ocampo-Loresca’s celebrity moment, however, was apparently dashed when he was informed by Clark County School District (CCSD) officials he was creating a disturbance on campus.

“Homecoming is supposed to be a night of celebration for students but things quickly turned sour,” the Daily Mail reported. “Video shot at the event show Ocampo being winning [sic] the competition to the rapturous applause of other pupils … Ocampo draped the flag over their shoulders and continued to receive cheers and applause at the event.”

Ocampo-Loresca said he had previously been told flags of any kind were not permitted on campus, but apparently disregarded that rule. The student added that other students rallying around him and his impromptu speech created the disturbance.

“We had a homecoming assembly last Thursday, I was planning on pulling out the flag as part of my outfit but I was talked to by administrations [sic] and told not to pull it out because of any political statement it may carry,” Ocampo-Loresca said. “My identity should not be controversial in any sense of the matter, with or without the flag. I hold my chin up really high every single day.”

According to KLAS, Ocampo-Loresca’s family spoke with school officials Sunday and the student has been cleared of any disciplinary action.

Students and parents have swarmed to defend Ocampo-Loresca against the administration, the news report noted.

A parent of two Durango High School students said the administration’s rule may be hurtful to other students.

“They need for somebody to love them, accept them, period,” said Alexandra Lopez. “They’re beautiful as they are, every child. For you to do that, and set that back and make that kid be afraid? No. Don’t be afraid of who you are Josh. Shine.”

“It’s important to us that we are able to be who we are,” senior Alex Purdue said. “Not all of us students can be who we are so for those students that wear pride at school. We should not be punished in any way or told that we can’t do that even if it is covered with a different narrative.”

Ocampo-Loresca reportedly said school officials have apologized for their “misunderstanding.”

The school district reported its policy for dress and appearance for students to KLAS:

Students are entitled to express themselves in a manner consistent with the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

The Clark County School District does not discriminate based on the viewpoint or content of student speech. However, under state and federal law, student speech must not be disruptive of instruction or school activities, must not be used to engage in discrimination based on race, bullying or cyber-bullying or intimidate any person, and must not be organized, broadcast, or endorsed by a public school.

In addition, students may not engage in speech-related activities that may create a safety hazard.

These regulations are in place in order to provide a safe and healthy learning environment, free of distraction, for all of our students.

“All District schools may take appropriate disciplinary action, including confiscating of items found to not be in compliance with this and other established policies and regulations,” CCSD states.

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