She is the homecoming queen, only 16 — and transgender.
Cassidy Lynn Campbell proudly took a slice of homecoming history Friday night, after being the first trans teen at Marina High School in Huntington Beach, Calif. to win the title.
Campbell tearily accepted her crown in front of camera crew and a crowd of students, family and football players on the field.
“I wasn’t doing this for me,” she told ABC affiliate KABC-TV, shortly after being proclaimed the winner, “I was doing this for so many others, so many others around the nation.”
Other students congratulated Campbell for attaining the most votes over five other finalists in the running.
“I think it’s really cool how we allowed her to run, and I just think it’s a really good thing,” student Kelsey Callanan said.
As the school’s first transgender student nominated to the court, Campbell experienced some backlash after it was announced she would be in the top 10 contenders.
“They think that I’m just a boy doing this for fun, and I’m just a boy dressing up as a girl and trying to win a crown when that is completely the opposite of what it is,” she said. “I’ve always seen myself as a girl.”
But the 16-year-old, who up until three years ago lived as Lance Campbell, did not let the negativity deter her from her goals, defending her decision to run on her Twitter account.
“My goal isn’t to be famous, it’s to open people’s eyes to the world around them, to teach people to be open-minded and to reconsider social norms,” she wrote.
Campbell is also an avid YouTuber, and has posted a video of her daily transformation online.
Campbell’s mother has expressed her joy and pride at her daughter’s achievements.
“I never would have thought in my lifetime that I would see this,” said Christine Campbell. “It’s wonderful. She really did it.”
Campbell is not the first trans student in the country to win a homecoming title. Earlier this year, “The Katie Couric Show” featured a 19-year-old transgender teen named Devon who won the title of Junior Homecoming Princess at her high school where her peers were unaware she was biologically male.
Last month, California Gov. Jerry Brown put transgender issues for minors in the spotlight after he signed a bill granting all public school students the right to “take part in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities” that correspond with their gender identity.