Evan Bialosuknia "made history," as she wrote on Instagram, when she became her school's first transgender homecoming queen.
The 17-year-old said she didn't know what to expect when she decided to run for homecoming queen at her school, Olympia High School, in Orlando, Florida.
“I wanted to have that moment of glory,” she told WESH2, an NBC affiliate based in Orlando.
Students not only supported her, but elected her to homecoming court and then crowned her queen last week.
“It made me feel like I actually belonged,” Bialosuknia said. “Not just like a joke. Cause that was one of my fears. I was in bed one night like, ‘What if they were just doing this to laugh at me?’”
She received her crown on the school's football field alongside the homecoming king, whom she said was also supportive and made her feel "like any other girl."
She said that she came out recently and that "more change is coming" for her.
“Looking back, it doesn’t even feel like that’s me,” Bialosuknia told WESH2. “I played football for like six to eight years, and I remember during practices I would stare at the cheerleaders because I wanted to be with them.”
After her win, Bialosuknia shared a series of photos on Instagram of her wearing her homecoming court sash and posing with the homecoming king.
An increasing number of schools and LGBTQ students across the country are challenging the traditions of homecoming and prom courts.
In 2017, Stiles Zuschlag, a trans teen, was elected homecoming king by his Maine high school. Then, in 2019, Brandon Allen, a gay student, was elected homecoming royalty at his Tennessee high school, which used gender-neutral titles for homecoming court. A photo of Allen being crowned while wearing a gold-sequined gown went viral on social media.
An increasing number of queer couples have also been crowned homecoming or prom royalty. In 2016, a lesbian couple became the first gay prom king and queen in their school's 185-year history. And, in April, another lesbian couple in a conservative county in Ohio were elected the first queer prom king and queen at their high school.
Recent surveys show that younger generations are more accepting and supportive of LGBTQ people.
Roughly half (48 percent) of Generation Z (those born after 1996) say that allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry is a good thing for society, with only 15 percent saying it’s a bad thing, according to 2018 data from Pew Research Center. For baby boomers, those figures are 27 percent and 32 percent, respectively. A separate report published this year by Gallup found that 1 in 5 Gen Zers identify as something other than heterosexual.
For Bialosuknia, being crowned homecoming queen ultimately made her feel better about the future.
“It just made me realize I was not alone and don’t have to go through this alone,” Bialosuknia told WESH2.