In recent years, homecoming season has been seeing a new tradition: Transgender kings and queens in a handful of cities across the U.S.
This week, Scarlett Lenh is celebrating being voted Homecoming Queen of Sand Creek High School, reports Colorado Springs' Gazette. Her school is located in the conservative Colorado hub, prompting some, like Jana Neathery, the grandmother of a Sand Creek student, to complain to the newspaper that the win is a "joke" that has "taken" the position from other, more deserving girls.
But the win is no joke for Lenh. "It was really exciting. It felt really good. I couldn't stop smiling," she recalled of being told in front of a school assembly she was elected queen by the majority of her junior class.
This same week, a Texas trans teen, Mel Gonzalez, was voted Homecoming King at Stephen F. Austin High School.
"[I'm] humbled and honored and shocked," Gonzelez shared with Fiona Dawson, producer of the documentary series TransMilitary. "I was treated like any other male candidate and experienced no backlash."
Days before the announcement of his win, Dawson reports that Gonzaelz had written a message for his classmates on social media. It read: "I never wanted to make [king] as a popularity contest. Rather, I wanted to prove that an openly transgender male could make court. I don't just want to be your homecoming king — I want to be your female-to-male homecoming king."
His win, he added, is for all LGBT students and "underdogs" who deserve — and will hopefully keep seeing, following in the footsteps of Lenh and Gonzalez — visibility and recognition.