ORLANDO, Fla. (WESH) — A return to homecoming tradition brought with it a first at Olympia High School in Orlando — the students elected the school’s first transgender student to the homecoming court and then crowned her queen.
Evan Bialosuknia is a queen proud of her crown. For her, it symbolizes something richer than royalty.
“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?'”
Bialosuknia is 17, and in her first year living the way she wants and feels.
“I still have a long way to go and more change is coming,” she said.
Just a few months ago, she started her transition.
“Looking back it doesn’t even feel like that’s me?” Bialosuknia said. “I played football for like 6 to 8 years and I remember during practices I would stare at the cheerleaders because I wanted to be with them.”
She says she couldn’t be her confident self without the love from her family.
She didn’t know quite what to expect at Olympia when she decided to try to become homecoming queen.
“I wanted to have that moment of glory,” she said.
She’s grateful the homecoming game’s halftime brought a show of support from her friends and classmates and the crowned king.
“There’s only good energy (from him), just a great person. He just made me feel like any other girl.”
Through all the excitement comes a certain comfort.
“It just made me realize I was not alone and don’t have to go through this alone,” Bialosuknia said.
She hopes she can share that comfort with others who may struggle finding their way as she continues a journey of her own.
“I have to just keep my head up and know that it’s going to take time and it’s going to take patience,” she said.
Certainly, the support from her classmates at Olympia is clear to see, but national data does show many LGBTQ teens continue to suffer higher health and suicide risks compared to their peers — especially transgender teens.
A recent CDC report says 43 percent of transgender youth have been bullied on school property and 29 percent have attempted suicide.