A Florida high school elected its first transgender homecoming queen last week, a moment the 17-year-old girl said shows transgender women “can do the exact same things as a cisgender woman.”
Evan Bialosuknia, a senior at Olympia High School in Orlando, Florida, was elected homecoming queen by her peers. She told USA TODAY that, at first, she thought it would be “kind of cool if I ran for homecoming court.”
But then she started getting more support from her friends and classmates, including another student running for homecoming king who she said supported her on social media.
“I know it’s not the biggest deal, but, to me, it just felt very like ‘wow, that’s a relief,’ and a weight lifted off my chest knowing that I’m not disliked.”
And when Bialosuknia was crowned homecoming queen on her school’s football field Oct. 24, she said the moment “brought me to tears of joy.”
“When I heard them say Evan, I was just like ‘holy moly, no way that they just said my name,’" she said.
“It just shocked me,” she added. “I couldn’t believe it was real."
Bialosuknia is the school's first transgender homecoming queen, WESH2 reported.
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Marnie Bialosuknia, Evan’s mother and a registered nurse, told USA TODAY that, before her daughter was elected, she warned her not to get her hopes up.
“You want to protect your child,” she said. “And I just didn’t want her to be disappointed.
“When we were there Friday night and they announced her name, it was really wonderful. I don’t know how to put it into words,” she said. “As a parent, you just want your kids to be happy, healthy. You want them to just live their best life, and you want your kid to be accepted for who they are.”
Evan plans to attend college next year, but, in the meantime, she hopes to inspire fellow LGBTQ teens.
"Put yourself out there and present yourself as who you are,” she said. "Just know that you are amazing, and you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.”
Olympia High School congratulated the teen and her peers on social media.
Marnie Bialosuknia told USA TODAY that she hopes her daughter’s experience shows transgender kids that “other people have been through it, and you can be a queen. You can be whoever you want to be.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Florida high school elects first transgender homecoming queen