KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A transgender Kansas City-area high school student who was elected homecoming queen over the weekend said she is happy to be receiving so much attention four months after posting a video on social media announcing to the world she is a girl, not a boy.
Landon Patterson, a 17-year-old Oak Park High School senior, became a celebrity after donning the crown on Saturday.
“The attention is kind of overwhelming, kind of not,” Patterson told The Kansas City Star. “I feel like I’m handling it pretty well. I’m just honored that I’m put in this spotlight and that I’m representing my school and representing the trans community.”
Patterson is her school’s first transgender homecoming queen and one of only a few across the country to be documented.
In 2013, 16-year-old Cassidy Lynn Campbell was crowned Marina High School’s homecoming queen in Huntington Beach, California. A few weeks later Ray Ramsey, a transgender student at Concord High School in New Hampshire, was crowned homecoming king. Last year, a transgender girl, Scarlett Lenh, was crowned homecoming princess at a Colorado Springs, Colorado, high school.
In 2010, a Michigan school was criticized after disqualifying homecoming king votes for a transgender student who identified as a male but was born female.
David Alonzo, chairman of the Kansas City chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network applauded Oak Park’s student body for supporting Patterson.
“I think what is culturally significant is that it’s in Missouri rather than in New York City or San Francisco or someplace like that,” Alonzo said. “The fact that it is being positively received in the news, it could be considered a cultural thing.”
Patterson, who was in sixth grade when she told her mother she thought she was gay, started wearing girls’ clothes to high school, and at the beginning of her junior year began wearing long hair extensions.
“I was so nervous,” she said. “But I thought, ‘I’m doing it.’ After that I decided to wear a dress. So I came to school with my hair in and in a black dress. I was tired of hiding who I was and wearing a dress was what would make me feel like myself.”
Patterson has been a member of Oak Park’s co-ed cheerleading squad since her freshman year, spending her freshman and sophomore years, and part of her junior year, cheering as a boy.
In May, the same month she came out as transgender on a social media video, she was allowed to wear the girls’ cheer uniform when the squad appeared at a Kansas City T-Bones baseball game.
“It was just so exciting,” Patterson said. “And I felt so pretty. And I finally felt complete.”
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