Olympia High School in Orlando, Fla., has crowned its first transgender homecoming queen.
Evan Bialosuknia, a 17-year-old senior, ran her campaign on social media with help from the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance.
“Every year, a beautiful girl wins homecoming queen, and that’s how it always is,” told CBS News. “Ever since I was little, I was like, ‘I want to be a queen, I want to be that star in a moment of glory.’”
Last week, Bialosuknia “made history,” as she wrote on Instagram, joining an increasing number of LGBTQ students across the country joining homecoming courts and prom royalty.
“I really wanted to get it, and I was pretty confident I had a chance, but if I didn’t get it, it’s not the end of the world,” she told CBS News.
“But for me, it felt a little bit more than that, because as a transgender woman, it lets you know you’re being who you are. And it’s not any different than a cisgender woman being homecoming queen.”
With her mother, grandparents and best friend cheering her on, she won the largest margin of votes ever at Olympia and was declared homecoming queen, alongside homecoming king Lucas Fanhaa.
“I was just in utter shock, and it made me feel like maybe people do like me and maybe are not doing this to laugh at me or make fun of me,” she said. “It just felt amazing to know that people are actually there for you and support you.”
“It makes me so happy that people are on my side and have my back,” she added.
Bialosuknia, who began transitioning a few months ago, told WESH that winning “made me realize I was not alone” and “like I actually belonged.”
“Looking back, it doesn’t even feel like that’s me,” she said to the NBS affiliate. “I played football for like six to eight years, and I remember during practices I would stare at the cheerleaders because I wanted to be with them.”
“I went through a really hard time,” she added. “And [winning] can push people to know it gets better. You can do anything, even if you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community, you aren’t any less… You can be amazing.”
In a statement to CBS News, Olympia High School Principal Gorberg said the school community was excited to honor Bialosuknia.
“For us, this was less about making history and all about the joy and positivity that Evan brings to our school as a student and to her peers as a classmate and friend,” she said, noting that the school district has proclaimed October as LGBTQ+ Awareness and History month.
While Bialosuknia has the support of her peers, according to 2020 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43% of transgender youth have been bullied on school property and 29% have attempted suicide.
Bialosuknia told WESH that she hopes she can help others who are struggling with their identities while she continues along her own journey.
“I have to just keep my head up and know that it’s going to take time and it’s going to take patience,” she said.
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