Senior Hall of Fame is now gender neutral

By Quinn Gonzales, Reporter

This year, the yearbook staff is breaking the gender binary; when voting sheets were passed out, it was announced that the senior Hall of Fame category winners would be the two students with the most amount of votes, no matter their gender.

Now, this change may seem logical for current Cleveland students, but for the entirety of Cleveland’s yearbook existence, the winners of each Hall of Fame category have been one girl and one boy, with the exception of the best male and best female duo categories.

“It allows people to then be in this Hall of Fame for what they are being recognized for, instead of being also confined by society’s gender limitations,” said yearbook staff member and Cleveland senior, Elise Hodge.

This change is seen as beneficial by the yearbook staff, as it challenges gender norms. “At Cleveland, there are a lot of people who don’t conform to the binary, so they would be excluded if we stuck only to girl and boy,” said yearbook Editor-in-Chief Hana Warmflash. “And then at the same time, someone might not be recognized. For example, maybe for one category, two girls deserve it more than any boy deserves it, or vice versa.”

Besides the best female and best male duo categories, each category has been held by one student of each sex. This change in the voting process has also allowed the winners of the best duo category to be opposite sexes. This specific rule change breaks the stigma that “close” friendships can only be two people of the same gender.

The students at Cleveland have seen this change as accepting, and believe it will better represent who deserves each Hall of Fame title. Senior Liam Stone believes the change is fitting at Cleveland, and says, “I think that it’s a good step and gives a lot of people more options.”

Hodge also hopes this brings acceptance of the de-emphasis of gender. She believes that the gender spectrum should be brought to the forefront of the school’s discussion on gender. “While gender is something that plays into someone’s identity,” Hodge said, “it does not define them.”

The Hall of Fame isn’t the only aspect of this year’s yearbook that is changing. Describing how the layout of this yearbook will be like nothing Cleveland students have seen before, Warmflash said, “You open a yearbook and every aspect of the yearbook is the same. The order of the pages, exactly what pages, and who gets what pages, and we’ve already changed all of that this year, so there’s no reason why we wouldn’t change the Hall of Fame; it’s easier for people that way.”

This change allows the most suitable people to win each category, and also stops those who identify with both or neither gender from being pressured into having to represent a specific sex. Warmflash, describing the effect she hopes this change has on others, said, “I hope that it’ll help people feel better about themselves. They have the opportunity to win whatever category, regardless of gender, because that shouldn’t hold you back from anything.”