The Tournament of Roses Parade that airs every New Year's Day in Pasadena, California, has become as iconic of a cultural experience as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan, and like every other shared cultural experience that the Left touches, it has now been changed in the name of political correctness.
According to Pasadena Now, the Tournament of Roses has now changed the rules on the royal court applications by allowing people who "identify as female" to apply, thus paving the way for a future transgender Rose Queen or, at the very least, a transgender Rose Princess. To put it more succinctly: one fully-qualified, capable and eager teenage girl may have to one day miss out on her golden opportunity to ride in the parade in order to make way for a teenage boy who identifies as a female.
"A change to the Tournament of Roses application for the Royal Court could allow transgender applicants the opportunity to enter the process," reports the outlet. "Requirements previously required that applicants 'must be female,' but this year the requirement has changed to 'must identify as female.'"
Pasadena Now clarified that men are still not allowed to apply for the royal court, even though the new rules expressly allow that to happen. Speaking with reporters, Tournament of Roses Chief Executive Officer David Eads said that the organization has been building toward this inclusiveness for several years.
"We have always tried to be very inclusive and embrace diversity," said Eads. "With our Royal Court members, last year we had our first Rose Queen that publicly identified as LGBTQ. So then the question of would we accept a transperson as part of our Royal Court, and again, based on our selection criteria, somebody's sexual identity or orientation has never been part of our selection criteria."
Indeed, the Tournament of Roses broke barriers last year by selecting the very first bisexual Rose Queen, Louise Deser Siskel, to lead the royal court down Colorado Blvd.
"I entered (the Rose Court search) on sort of a whim, but as I continued to return for the interview rounds, and throughout the whole process, I realized the value of the Tournament of Roses, and the role it plays in our community," Siskel told the outlet. "Each year, the (Tournament) selects seven young women (for the Royal Court) and gives them a real voice; for that I feel very thankful."
Throughout the interview process, Siskel was entirely transparent about her LGBT identity and the causes she advocates for.
"What was important to me throughout the interview process was that I was completely transparent about who I was, about the things that I value, and about the things that I advocate for," she said. "I feel lucky that I was selected by the committee for those reasons. That, to me, gives me great faith in the organization and a great amount of respect for the committee."
More than 700 local Pasadena girls are expected to apply for the royal court this coming September. Eads promised, however, that the selection process will remain the same despite the rule change, focusing on qualities like "speaking skills, leadership, and their academic achievement and their community and school involvement."
The Rose Queen is a deeply involved position. Beyond just appearing in the parade, the queen makes as many as "100 community and media appearances" in the name of protecting "the image and reputation of the Rose Parade with poise and diplomacy."
The Pasadena Rose Parade has been a forum for LGBT novelty in the past. In 2014, the parade featured a same-sex wedding on one of its floats, the third wedding ceremony ever performed live at the parade — the first being in 1989, which was then considered the "most widely witnessed wedding in American history." The second wedding took place in 2013 as part of a contest conducted by Farmers Insurance before Proposition 8 had been struck down by the Supreme Court.
Last November, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York also made history on its 92nd birthday by showing on live TV the first-ever same-sex kiss featured in the parade.