A transgender teen in Missouri was crowned Homecoming queen of her high school this weekend, signifying acceptance in one part of the state even while students held a walk-out in another part of the state to protest their trans classmate.
Wearing a floor length peach gown, senior Landon Patterson appeared shocked when her name was read as the winner. "To have students and friends vote for me makes me feel loved for who I am," Patterson said in an interview with Fox 4.
Patterson is a student at Oak Park High School in Kansas City. She had joined the cheerleading squad and told KCTV of her win, "Just knowing that I did this, and that I just broke some barriers, I can't even put it into words what I'm feeling right now. I'm just excited and hope this is going to help others out there."
Patterson's win shows that not all students react negatively to those who may be seen as different. Just two weeks ago in Hillsboro, Mo., more than 150 students held a walk-out to protest transgender student Lila Perry being allowed to use the girls’ bathroom, as The Advocate previously reported.
Meanwhile newly minted transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner has given viewers an even broader view as she visits with struggling transgender teens on her reality show, I Am Cait.
Jenner had her own homecoming queen moment at the ESPY awards, where she gave an impassioned speech against bullying, promoting the idea of accepting people as who they are. "If you want to call me names make jokes doubt my intentions go ahead because the reality is, I can take it, but for the thousands of kids out there coming to terms with who they are, they shouldn't have to take it," Jenner said at the awards ceremony.
But while fellow students can play an important role, parents are sometimes all the more important. In Patterson's case, mother Debbie Hall was there to support the homecoming queen as she accepted her crown. Hall rode alongside Patterson during the homecoming parade and told KCTV5 that she saw no other option than to support her daughter.
"That's my child. You have to back your children. The haters out there, I just want to say, 'What would you say if it was your child?'" Hall told the station.
Watch the local Fox report below.