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WATCH: Transgender, Lesbian Students Crowned Homecoming Royalty

WATCH: Transgender, Lesbian Students Crowned Homecoming Royalty

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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.

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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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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.