A high school in National City, California has attracted some attention from local media after crowning the district’s first ever transgender homecoming queen. 18 year-old Karl Cruz was awarded the prize after her school’s homecoming football game last Friday.
The student, who is also on her principal’s honour roll as well as being an active member of many of Sweetwater High School’s clubs, told ABC 10 News that she was shocked when the announcement was made:
“I was completely shocked. It was really overwhelming because everyone started cheering for me and I didn’t really expect that.”
The teenager grew emotional when she grasped that she was her district’s first transgender homecoming queen:
“After the fireworks, I just started crying my eyes out. I was like ‘Oh my God, I’m Sweetwater’s first transgender homecoming queen!’”
Cruz was voted in by her fellow students. The high school’s principal told ABC News that she believes the result speaks volumes about the attitudes of her students:
“I was extremely proud. I can’t say I was surprised. Every single student should be accepted for who they are. They’re all wonderful human beings and they are here to learn.”
While Cruz was touched by the result, she acknowledges that it represents a small victory on a long road towards trans acceptance. She offered the news channel her message to those who bully people based on their gender identity:
“Every opinion is valid, but some opinions can be really harsh, so I would just say keep it to yourself. If you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all.”
The teenager was left feeling optimistic following her crowning as it marked her classmates’ acceptance of her gender identity.
“This shows how times have changed and how LGBTQ people are more accepted in the community now.”
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