HERNANDO, Miss. -- Two Hernando High School students are trying to make their prom more inclusive for those in the LGBTQ community.
The two female students, Kenzie Ellenberger and Mallory Boone, have been in a relationship for about two years and wanted the chance to run for Prom Queen and King together like many couples do.
They said their principal first agreed but then changed his mind.
Boone and Ellenberger said the idea started as a joke at their prom last year, but this year they wanted to make it a reality.
“People were like, 'Y’all should totally do that. That sounds like a good idea, like Hernando needs to change,'" said Boone.
They asked their principal if Boone could run for queen and Ellenberger run for king.
“He said, 'Yeah that would be fine. That would work. They can write your name in,' and then he called me back in the next day and went back on everything he said and just shot it down and told me no," said Ellenberger.
She says they offered different ideas, like taking gender out of prom royalty altogether, but he said no.
Crushed by his decision, they started a petition online for Ellenberger to be on the Prom King ballot if voted for.
They wrote how they want to represent people in the LGBTQ community.
It’s gotten over a thousand signatures.
“I originally only wanted 200 people to sign and we have a thousand," said Boone. "It's crazy."
Even with the petition, their principal still didn’t budge.
The final ballots were released with Boone being one of the Prom Queen nominees. Four men are on the Prom King list.
Their prom is this Friday at the Columns in downtown Memphis.
Boone and Ellenberger say they’re planning to go and have fun regardless.
They hope this shines a light on issues the LGBTQ community faces and encourages others to speak up.
“I want it to show a change in society itself and Hernando," said Ellenberger.
The DeSoto County School District released the following statement:
"At Hernando High School, seniors are nominated for prom royalty by their peers. School administrators were asked about a couple that wanted to be Prom King and Prom Queen. Students were informed that individuals, not couples, are elected to the court. Using an online nomination process, students select one male and one female student to represent the senior class. This process ensures that both males and females can participate and serve on the court."