Like many high schools across the United States, Olympia High School in Orlando, Florida elects a homecoming court each fall, including a king and queen. And like many high school girls, Evan Bialosuknia dreamed of winning queen. But Evan's win would be historic – as the first transgender queen elected.
"Every year, a beautiful girl wins homecoming queen and that's how it always is," Bialosuknia 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."
The 17-year-old high school senior started campaigning on social media, putting it out to her classmates that she wanted to win the title. She said the school's Gay-Straight Alliance also helped her campaign, messaging club members and encouraging them to vote for the school's first trans homecoming queen.
The night of the big football game where the school's homecoming court would be announced at halftime, Bialosuknia was nervous.
"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 said. "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."
When it came time for the king and queen to be announced, Bialosuknia's mom, grandparents and best friend were in the stands cheering her on. "It was so heartwarming and made me so happy, almost emotional," she said.
Pulling in the most votes for Homecoming Queen was Bialosuknia, who said she won by the largest margin of votes ever and made history as her school's first transgender homecoming queen.
"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."
Olympia High School Principal Christy Gorberg said the school community was thrilled to celebrate Bialsuknia. "This is the first time in school history that an openly trans student has received this honor," she said in a statement to CBS News. "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."
The school district has declared the month of October as LGBTQ+ Awareness & History month, Gorberg said.
Bialosuknia said it was important to campaign for homecoming queen not just for her, but other teens in the LGBTQ+ community. "For me especially, I went through a really hard time. 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."
Olympia High School's new homecoming queen was "surprised but not" that her classmates elected her. "There are people still there that don't agree and accept it, which is fine. But it made me realize there are decent people out there and there are people in my school at least that are more accepting," she said.
"It makes me so happy that people are on my side and have my back," Bialosuknia said. "It just makes me feel like any other girl."
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