Walker discusses her decision to run for RTHS prom king

Diamond Walker is secure in who she is.

She is a graduate of Rantoul Township High School, a two-sport athlete and a sister and daughter.

Walker also happens to be a lesbian who became RTHS’ first-ever female prom king, and hopes others will become more open-minded with her victory.

During the interview, Walker sported baggy jeans with basketball pumps and a short,  blonde hair cut. She discussed how her quiet confidence about herself traces back to her freshman year.

“I first came out the first few weeks after freshman year started,” Walker said. “I was nervous. It all started when I got into an argument about that with a friend, and I got really upset about it. I went up and told my mom (Liz Walker) one day, and she was like ‘I know. I was waiting on you to say something about it.’”

RTHS students didn’t bully or ostracize her after it was known she was lesbian.

“It’s been normal,” Walker said. “I’m pretty cool with everyone, as they all like me.”

Running for prom king first occurred to Walker during her junior year. She thought it would be really cool for a girl to beat out the guys for that position.

“Usually, it’s an all-guy spot,” Walker said. “For a girl to get it, I thought it would be a good memory to leave off with.”

Social studies teacher Elizabeth Carsley told Walker as long as students nominate her for prom king she would be able to run. When her candidacy was finalized,

Principal Todd Wilson talked to Walker about the possible reactions she would face.

“He told me they were going to support me, but the community will have their own opinion, Walker said. “Some people in the school might have their own opinions.”

During the vote, Walker was both simultaneously excited and nervous.

“I wanted to win, but I didn’t know if everyone would vote for me to win, as it’s typically a male’s role,” Walker said. “I didn’t know if enough people would think outside the box to do it, or it would stay the same.”

Winning was sweet for Walker, but the Rantoul community as a whole hasn’t been supportive of her coronation. Many community members have talked to Wilson and Superintendent Scott Amerio about their concern over the situation.

The public has also voiced their displeasure in some biting letters to the editor, which Walker has all read.

“The first ones that were published, I wasn’t too bothered with,” Walker said. “Then the one came out with Hitler and stuff, it hurt me. I cried on the phone to my cousin for a little while. It didn’t bother me after that. It’s their opinions, and I can’t stop what they say.”

Amerio told the Press the school allowed Walker to run for prom king because the district’s legal counsel advised not allowing that opportunity would most likely be seen as discrimination. That in turn could’ve meant a legal suit.

If Walker was denied, she doesn’t know if she would’ve filed a suit.

“I probably wouldn’t have found out about that until later,” Walker said. “I really don’t know. It probably would’ve depended on how I felt, but I probably wouldn’t have.”

By winning prom king, Walker hopes other gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender students will have the courage to come out and be who they are. She also hopes other students and teachers will be more open-minded about how society is changing.

“People shouldn’t think about stuff that was written a long time ago or based on beliefs.” Walker said. “People can have their own beliefs, but they should accept others for who they are.”

Walker appreciates Wilson and Amerio for letting her run.

“I know they took a lot of heat too, and they don’t deserve it like I don’t deserve it,” she said.

She’s also grateful to everyone else who’s supported her through the whole situation.

In her free time, Walker follows basketball with her favorite teams being the Chicago Bulls and Ohio State. She also loves rap and hip-hop, with one of her favorites artists being DMX.

Walker will enroll at Parkland Community College in the fall to study criminal justice. She hopes to continue her basketball and softball careers, and eventually transfer to Western Illinois University to complete her bachelor’s.

bbajek@rantoulpress.com

Categories (3):News, Education, People

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Vern 2740 wrote on June 06, 2013 at 1:06 am

Why does what she is wearing have anything to do with the interview? Oh yeah, it fills a stereotype! Would you have mentioned what a straight male was wearing?