A 17-year-old transgender girl in Orlando, Florida, made history when students at Olympia High School selected her as their homecoming queen. According to WESH in Orlando, Evan Bialosuknia is the first transgender homecoming queen in the school’s history, and possibly the first in the state.
“It made me feel like I actually belonged,” Bialosuknia told WESH of the significance of her selection. “Not just like a joke. Cause that was one of my fears, I was in bed one night like, ‘What if they were just doing this to laugh at me?’”
It turned out she had little to fear as so far she’s received plenty of support from her classmates, especially from her homecoming king.
“There’s only good energy, just a great person,” Bialosuknia said of her king. “He just made me feel like any other girl.”
Bialosuknia only recently came out as trans and is in the first year of living aligned with her true identity. She admits she still has “a long way to go and more change is coming,” but she is still pleased with the progress she has made.
“Looking back it doesn't even feel like that's me?” Bialosuknia recalled. “I played football for like six to eight years and I remember during practices I would stare at the cheerleaders because I wanted to be with them.”
She admitted she ran in part because “I wanted to have that moment of glory,” but she still worried whether she made the right decision. The selection by her classmates let Bialosuknia know not only had she made the correct choice, but that she had also had the full support of her classmates.
“It just made me realize I was not alone and don't have to go through this alone,” she said.
Homecoming celebrations are an integral part of high school and college life across the country. They have traditionally featured a king and queen, but recently have realigned in some schools to reflect the changing identity of their student body.
The University of Oklahoma went gender-neutral for the 2021 homecoming court, selecting two males as their homecoming royalty. The student body and faculty selected Justin Norris, who is gay, and Reece Henry, who is straight as their homecoming royalty, ditching the traditional binary-based titles of king and queen.
In 2019, transgender teenage Charlie Baum was crowned homecoming queen by Forsyth Central High School in Georgia. She said the honor was especially significant in light of the years of “death threats and plenty of humiliation” at the hands of her classmates.
“I went from feeling ready to get out of high school so that I could be normal and just feel like a normal girl — not so much of an oddity or outcast — to feeling like there was a majority of students who support me,” Baum said at the time.
In Orlando, Bialosuknia said she’s aware of the significance of her selection but is aware the road ahead of her will not be easy.
“I have to just keep my head up and know that it's going to take time and it's going to take patience.”