A Missouri high school named a transgender teen as its homecoming queen for the first time, earning national attention and kudos from far and wide for breaking through stigma without missing a beat.
As reported by the Kansas City Star and the Associated Press, among other outlets, Oak Park High senior Landon Patterson was named homecoming queen during the announcement of the school’s homecoming court, taking home the honor while her cheerleading teammates celebrated behind her. While a cheerleader winning homecoming queen might not normally be notable, Patterson’s victory was; through her first three years, Patterson would have been eligible to be homecoming king, not queen.
Despite her transition to the other gender, Patterson’s friends and fans never wavered, rallying support behind her and electing her homecoming queen, making her one of the first transgender students to be elected to a homecoming court.
For Patterson, the honor was an official acknowledgement of society’s acceptance of who she is, a tacit status which is far more important than the honor itself.
“The attention is kind of overwhelming, kind of not,” Patterson told the 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.”
The teen officially announced herself as a girl in May, when she posted a video on YouTube titled “I am transgender.” The gender switch meant that she would attempt to cheer as a girl during her final season, an effort which received bold and immediate support from Patterson’s cheer coach and was worked out with the Missouri State High School Athletic Association without any significant incident.
That all paved the way to Saturday, when Patterson’s acceptance was reinforced in the most American way possible: A crown and celebration honoring her as the school’s most popular girl.
“Right now, I feel complete. I feel like that princess,” Patterson told the media.