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Students at Oak Park High School in Kansas City showed their neighbors over in Hillsboro, Mo., how to treat a transgender classmate. Instead of picketing Landon Patterson, a senior at Oak Park, for being transgender, they voted her homecoming queen.
Over at Hillsboro, you'll recall, parents and students marched against classmate Lila Perry, who decided she wanted to use the girls' restroom, not the unisex teachers' one. Perry, who is transgender, and the Hillsboro High School administrators know that anti-discrimination laws mean she can use whichever bathroom she feels most comfortable in. Unfortunately, parents of Perry's classmates, and some of the students themselves, want Perry to accommodate their notion of what it means to be a girl or a boy.
Not so in Kansas City.
Patterson, who transitioned to a woman this year, told Fox 4KC that being named homecoming queen is the realization of a dream she had since she was little. She says though her transition is recent, she identified as a girl for as long as she could remember.
When an announcer named her homecoming queen at last weekend's homecoming game, the crowd erupted in cheers. She told reporters she now feels complete. "I feel like that princess," she said.
In May, Patterson posted a YouTube video announcing that she is transgender. The video has been viewed more than 11,000 times. After Saturday's coronation, she had this advice for others: "Be you!" People magazine reported that she said, "Life is too short, you just have to embrace who you are."