Earning the title of Homecoming King or Queen is a big achievement for any student, but for LGBT youth it's an extra special moment of support and acceptance from their peers.
This year, many LGBT students were able to proudly celebrate their own identity as they took home the crown.
1. Steven Sanchez, a transgender student, became Iowa University's first LGBT Homecoming Queen.
21-year-old Steven Sanchez identifies as “transgender queer” and as both male and female. Steven used to hide who he was due to bullying from other classmates. "There was a long while where I tried so hard to hide who I am, and to be what other people expected," explained Sanchez. He later decided the only way to be happy was to be completely himself. What did he get? A spot on University of Northern Iowa's homecoming court and later the title of Homecoming Queen.
A video was created documenting Sanchez's journey towards homecoming queen.
2. Members of the Gay Straight Alliance, Jennifer Mijares and Eileen Hernandez were the first "Homecoming Queens" to win in San Antonio, TX.
Although they aren't a couple, the Mijares and Hernandez decided to run together as representatives of their C.C. Winn High School's GSA. Hernandez is openly gay, while she refers to Mijares as her straight ally. The entire student body stood and cheered as the girls were announced as winners.
3. Ray Ramsey, a transgender high school student, ran for and won the title of Homecoming King by a "landslide" at his New Hampshire High School.
17-year-old Ramsey made history by becoming the very first transgender student to be elected onto the homecoming court, and win, at Concord High School. "I just lost it," said Ramsey of the moment his dad congratulated him on the victory. Ray has the full support of his family in his transition and began talking with doctors about surgical options last fall.
4. Eric Irizarry and Ariana Reiff, best friends who are both openly gay, took home Homecoming King and Queen this month at Waukegan High School in Illinois.
Irizarry and Reiff were happy to become an unconventional power couple and take home the royal title of King and Queen. "There are some people saying we shouldn't have won," stated Reiff," or that we won because we are gay, but I think our classmates chose us because they know us, and they chose us just as people." Eric spends his time on the cheerleading team at the school while Ariana hopes of going to Veterinary school one day.
5. Transgender student Cassidy Lynn Campbell was crowned Homecoming Queen at her California high school.
"I instantly just dropped to the ground and started crying," said 18-year-old Cassidy of her surprise win this September. She was the first trans Homecoming Queen at Marina High School and hopes that her victory inspires others to live their lives openly and proudly. "If this could help one child or more, or hundreds or thousands or millions, then it was more than worth it," she said.