Homecoming at Marina High School in Southern California on Friday night proved to be a life-changing moment for 16-year-old Cassidy Lynn Campbell and a historic one for her school.
Campbell, who is a transgender teen, ran for homecoming queen and won—making her the first transgender student in the history of the school to hold that title, and one of the very few trans students in the nation who've done the same.
KTLA reports Campbell, who's been living outwardly as a girl for the past three years, won over five other contestants. In her interview with the news station, the teenager said, "I realized [winning] wasn't for me anymore, and I was doing this for so many people all around the county and the state and possibly the world, and I am so proud to win this not just for me, but everyone out there."
According to ABC News, while her mother and much of her school have been supportive, Campbell has had to endure her fair share of criticism and bullying. "They think that I'm just a boy doing this for fun, and I'm just a boy dressing up as a girl and trying to win a crown when that is completely the opposite of what it is," she said. "I've always seen myself as a girl."
That bullying reared its head just hours after she was crowned, when Campbell was met with a backlash online. She recorded a tearful Youtube video detailing her heartbreak after hearing the criticism heaped on her by people who weren't in favor of her win.
While no child, and no adult for that matter, should have to endure that kind of discrimination, the conclusion of that evening doesn't take away from Campbell's triumph. She's a 16-year-old kid who brought trans visibility into a national spotlight, and she did it fearlessly, by being herself.