Tournament of Roses Royal Court Applicants Now Must Identify As Female

In second change, Tournament ups the amount of scholarship awarded to Royal Court

Published : Thursday, August 8, 2019 | 4:46 AM

A change to the Tournament of Roses application for the Royal Court could allow transgender applicants the opportunity to enter the process.

Requirements previously required that applicants “must be female,” but this year the requirement has changed to “must identify as female.”

As before, men still are not allowed to enter the process.

“We have always tried to be very inclusive and embrace diversity,” said Tournament of Roses Chief Executive Officer David 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.”

Tournament of Roses Chief Executive Officer David Eads

Eads said the selection process is still based on several qualities, including speaking skills, leadership and their academic achievement and their community and school involvement.”

The Tournament of Roses will also increase the scholarship from $2,500 to $7,500 for members of the Royal Court.

Eads said reviewing the application’s selection criteria change was part of a normal periodic review of the selection process, but did acknowledge other people may consider the change in the language “substantial.”

Eads did not know when the criteria was last changed. A Tournament official said later in an email that the “eligibility requirements have been relatively the same for the past ten years, maybe more.”

Since being selected to lead the Tournament in 2016, Eads has been working to expand the Rose Parade’s substantial audience to include more millennials.

About 700 local young women are expected to try out for the royal court before the application period closes on Sept. 9.

During her reign, every Rose Queen is expected to promote and protect the image and reputation of the Rose Parade with poise and diplomacy. The Queen will make as many as 100 community and media appearances, including her appearance in the Rose Parade with the Royal Court. The Queen will also attend the Rose Bowl Game, held inside the iconic stadium.

Last year, Rose Queen Louise Deser Siskel came out as bisexual in a column in the Los Angeles Times and an interview on Pasadena Now.

Siskel was the first Rose Queen to come out as part of the LGBTQ community.

Eads said he did not believe Siskel’s decision to come out as bisexual inspired the Tournament to make the change.

“I don’t think it’s connected at all,” Eads said. “Again, it’s just us looking at our descriptions of, of what we’re putting out there publicly and again, trying to make sure that we’re conveying the right messages of our celebration of diversity and inclusion.”

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