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cassidy campbell said her legs shook with nervousness as she stood at a podium next to her mother. then, when she was named marina high homecoming queen, she dropped to her knees and broke into tears. friends began hugging her. the crowd chanted her name.

“if i win it would mean that the school recognizes me as the gender i always felt i was,” cassidy had said before her homecoming, held on septemeber 20. “it seemed like a dream,” she reflected the day after. “this is a huge step for the transgender community.”

during her freshman year, cassidy started watching youtube videos made by transgender women. “they were so unique, so different and beautiful,” the 16 year old said. “that’s when i started thinking this could be an option for me.” the teen’s now on hormone blockers and taking estrogen injections prescribed by an endocrinologist (third photo).

"if marina high school is to make high profile news during its homecoming week this year," principal paul morrow said in a statement, "then we are proud that the message is one of equity and individual respect."

photos by francine orr, text adapted from a story by adolfo flores

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