HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — A transgender student made history Friday night when she was elected crowned homecoming queen at an Orange County, Calif. high school.
Cassidy Lynn Campbell, 16, a senior at Marina High School in Huntington Beach, broke down in tears while classmates chanted her name as she was announced the winner.
She said she knew she was a girl from a young age. She’d gravitated toward Barbie dolls, lipstick and dresses and was excluded by male classmates for years because of it.
In middle school, Cassidy told classmates she was gay to try to blend in. It wasn’t until her sophomore year that she publicly dressed as a girl — on Halloween.
This year, as a senior, she came to school as herself, and she said school officials encouraged her and she received mostly positive responses from students.
She said she decided to run for homecoming queen, in part, to make a statement.
“If I win it would mean that the school recognizes me as the gender I always felt I was,” she told the Los Angeles Times prior to the homecoming election.
“But with all the attention, I realized it’s bigger than me,” she said. “I’m doing this for the kids who can’t be themselves.”
Ahead of the announcement, students told KNBC-TV that Cassidy was a a natural winner.
“Everyone at school loves her,” one student said.
With a crown on her head, Cassidy will preside over Marina High School’s homecoming dance this weekend.
“I’m speechless. I can’t even believe this,” she said. “I’m so proud of my school, my administration and the student body for making this happen.”
Cassidy said she wants to become more involved in the LGBT community, and she hopes her victory inspires other teens struggling with their identities.
“It doesn’t matter what people say about you, and the intolerance you may face doesn’t matter,” she said. “You can get through all of it, and you can thrive through all of it.”