LOFT LGBTQ+ community center seeks this year's 'homecoming queer'

The LOFT LGBTQ+ community center is looking for this year's "homecoming queer."
It's a twist on a high school tradition that is raising awareness about issues affecting the queer community.
Mount Vernon native Alex Lewack was named homecoming queer in 2020.
Lewack was raised as a girl but came into their gender identity as a trans male in high school - a place where LGBTQ+ community members are usually excluded from traditions like homecoming.
"It doesn't include people who might identify as gender non-conforming or non-binary or anyone who doesn't identify within the binary system," says Lewack.
The homecoming queer contest is conducted during Pride Month and held by the LOFT LGBTQ+ Community Center in White Plains.
In 2020, organizers decided to give the title more meaning.
"We decided to include a platform so that the winner can take the entire year to advocate and talk about a very special message," says Jeffrey Guard, of the LOFT LGBQT+ community center.
Lewack used his platform to focus on the importance of pronouns.
"Pronouns are just a way to refer to yourself with how it matches with how you identify," says Lewack.
Alex uses "he" and "they" for pronouns.
"I've gotten misgendered all throughout my trans experience and it's really, really hard because it's even hard to speak up about it," says Lewack.
Lewack used his platform as homecoming queer to bring awareness to this issue.
The LOFT is now looking for this year's winner.
Lewack says the experience taught them leadership skills and gave them a boost in confidence.
The LOFT is now taking applications for the 2021 homecoming queer.
Applicants must be at least 18 years old and a resident of the Hudson Valley.
This year's winner will also get a $250 cash prize.