By Parker Marie Molloy
Originally published on Advocate.com February 07 2014 2:25 PM ET
A 17-year-old high school student in Charlotte, N.C., received some great news earlier this week. Blake Brockington, a transgender senior, has been nominated for homecoming king at East Mecklenburg High School.
"I honestly feel like this is something I have to do," Brockington told QNotes, hoping that in addition to taking home the crown, he can raise transgender awareness.
Brockington's coming out has been a bumpy ride, and included setbacks such as his father's rejection of his identity, and taunting from other students. Now, less than two years later, he has earned the respect of his fellow students.
The homecoming king will be determined by which student can raise the most money for Mothering Across Continents, an international nonprofit with plans to build a school in South Sudan.
As Brockington told QNotes, "Nobody should be scared to be themselves, and everybody should have an equal opportunity to have an enjoyable high school experience." He hopes to claim victory, in part to inspire younger trans students, including several he mentors.
Recent years have seen a rise in the number of transgender students becoming involved in homecoming and prom court-related events. In October, a New Hampshire trans student was elected homecoming king, and just a month earlier, Cassidy Lynn Campbell of Huntington Beach, Calif., was elected homecoming queen.
That doesn't mean there aren't still trouble spots, however. Last September, a Johnstown, Penn., student was blocked from being put on the ballot for homecoming king at his school. Kasey Caron, a 17-year-old transgender boy, was told by school administrators that while he was welcome to run for homecoming queen, he would not be allowed to run for homecoming king on account of his transgender status.