WATCH: Transgender, Lesbian Students Crowned Homecoming Royalty

Students around the nation continue to use races for homecoming court to make a statement about LGBT rights. This weekend saw winners in Iowa and on Long Island.

BY Trudy Ring

October 13 2013 8:18 PM ET

Steven Sanchez, homecoming queen at the University of Northern Iowa

A transgender student was crowned homecoming queen this weekend at the University of Northern Iowa, while a lesbian was elected homecoming king at Central Islip Senior High School in New York.

Senior communications major Steven Sanchez, who was born male but identifies as both male and female, became the first transgender student to be homecoming queen at UNI in Cedar Falls. “I am completely speechless — I honestly didn’t even think I would win,” Sanchez, who uses male pronouns, told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier after being crowned Friday. “I am going to do everything I can to continue supporting the LGBT community and encourage everyone to get involved on campus no matter what it is.”

He added, “I want to raise visibility of the LGBT community on campus. And I’ve never felt more accepted than I have here at UNI.” UNI reinstated the practice of having a homecoming court last year after having discontinued it in the late 1970s.

At Central Islip Senior High on Long Island, lesbian student Faith Shepherd won the homecoming king title, after entering the race to make a statement about gender roles and show solidarity with a transgender friend she met through Facebook.

“I did this for my friend Regina,” Shepherd told Newsday. “Transgenders don’t get equal roles in society. Transgenders aren’t always treated very nicely in society. This is me standing up for transgenders and my friend.”

Read more about Shepherd here, and watch a video of Sanchez’s journey to homecoming queen below.

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