Maypole dance to feature first female escort

Freshman girls dance around the may pole in 2018. Photo courtesy of West Linn High School.

Freshman girls dance around the may pole in 2018. Photo courtesy of West Linn High School.

May Day has been a tradition at this school since 1929: 90 years of seniors running for may court, freshman prancing around the maypole and students showcasing their talents. The maypole has been a tradition just as long as May Day.

Some students, like freshman Rachel Dumas, didn’t now what maypole really was but were still interested.

“I do know that it’s a ritual to increase fertility,” Dumas said. “I ignored that it was weird and decided to do it anyway.” 

Each dancer needs to choose an escort or have one assigned. Typically, guys will escort the girls, but Dumas chose freshman Matilda Frysinger.

“It’s tradition for guys to escort, but I don’t have any guy friends,” Dumas said. “It’s 2019; girls should be allowed to escort girls.”

The adults in charge of running the maypole already know that Dumas is being escorted by another girl.

“They allowed it. They weren’t expecting it though,” Dumas said.

What will it look like when Dumas gets escorted by a girl?

“I still want to do my makeup,” Frysinger said. “I want to be an escort, so I’m not going to wear a dress.”

A quarter of  lesbian, gay and bi-identifying people say they have personally experienced bullying or poor treatment in the last five years as a result of their sexual orientation, according to Stonewall.

“People could be really homophobic, offensive terms could be thrown,” Dumas said, “But this school is really excepting, so I’d think it would be fine.”

“Hopefully people aren’t disgusted,” Frysinger said, “Seeing that this school has grown into a more accepting environment.”

Although LGBTQ movements have made strides in fighting discrimination, there are still people who look down on others who identify differently.

“This will open people’s eyes that there are people who can be together that are same sex,” Dumas said. “It’ll also open it up for freshman girls who are pressured into being escorted by a guy.”

The maypole tradition in itself can be very intimate with whoever your escort is, with its long history as a pagan ritual.

“Intimacy in same-sex couples is very real,” Frysinger said. “I want people to know it’s here, it’s real and it’s valid.”

When people throw hate, your body can respond one of three different ways: flight, fight or freeze. But Frysinger isn’t concerned.

“I would never back down. I’m not afraid,” Frysinger said. “I don’t care if people have a problem. That’s their problem.”

Dumas agreed.

“I 100% would still go through with it,” Dumas said. “I don’t want to be treated differently. I want to be treated as if she were a guy escort.”

People who identify as queer tend to still be looked down on. In this situation that can be a risk.

“You should just go for it,” Duma said. “Nothing’s going to stop you. We’re in a new generation now. It’s widely accepted now. No one’s gonna tell you something’s wrong with you when there’s not.”