A transgender teenager was crowned homecoming queen Friday night at Marina High School in Huntington Beach — the first in Orange County.
Sixteen-year-old Cassidy Lynn Campbell fell to her knees and cried when she heard she had won.
"I'm so proud to win this," she told KPCC media partner NBC4, "not just for me but for everyone out there and for every kid — transgender, gay, straight, black, white, Mexican, Asian. It doesn't matter, you can be yourself."
Campbell says she was born male and started her transition to female about a year ago. Marina High's principal said he is proud his school is sending a message of acceptance, tolerance and respect.
Upon receiving her crown, Cassidy became the Marina High School's 50th homecoming queen and one of few transgendered teens nationwide to receive such a title.
Cassidy, previously known as Lance, said she knew she was a girl from a young age, the Associated Press reports. She'd gravitated toward Barbie dolls, lipstick and dresses and was excluded by male classmates for years because of it.
In middle school Cassidy told classmates she was gay to try to blend in. It wasn't until her sophomore year that she publicly dressed as a girl — on Halloween.
This year, as a senior, she came to school as herself.
The school's staff encouraged her and she received mostly positive responses from students.
On Friday, her classmates chanted her name as she walked over to accept her prize in a green and pale pink gown.
Cassidy said she wants to become more involved in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. And she hopes her victory inspires other teens struggling with their identities.