Seventeen-year-old Cinthia Covarrubias has made history.
The transmale student from California’s Fresno High School ran against six other students for the title of prom king on Saturday April 21, making it the first time any openly transgendered student in America has done so.
Though he lost to student Dan Abril, the fact that Covarrubias ran at all is seen as a major win, not just for transgendered people, but also for America.
“We are growing as a society to accept much more diversity in gender expression, and that’s a positive thing,” Carolyn Laub, director of the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, told the Associated Press.
After Covarrubias was nominated by his fellow students, administrators from the school eliminated a rule that said only bio-males can be a part of the contest.
The school was advised to do that by its district’s lawyers because of a 2000 California law that allows students to act in accordance with their gender identity at school.
The school says Covarrubias’ feelings were also considered.
“We always want to do the right thing by our students,” Fresno High vice-principal Sheila Uriarte told the AP.
“This is why we came to this decision.”
This new rule gave Covarrubias the chance to participate in a part of prom he otherwise would not have participated in:
“I would never have run for anything if I had to wear a dress,” he told the AP.
At the prom, he wore a tuxedo and took a good female friend as his date.
Winning the right to run as prom king was not the first challenge Covarrubias faced in his life.
Originally from Mexico, he has had a difficult time telling his parents and family about his gender identity, says the AP.
And not every student is happy Covarrubias is competing for the title. But still, Covarrubias recognizes that his fight is more important than approval.
“I’m happy I actually made a difference about changing the law and the policy so you can run for your choice,” Covarrubias said.
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