Teaching has got to be the hardest profession in the world, especially when the subject you teach is confusing, and makes no sense, and seems like some kind of freakiness, like Statistics, or Chinese, or what it means to be transgender.
Yeah, that last one is a hard one for people to grasp, but slowly there are strides being made every day for transgender people; we’ve seen stories of a young transgender girl being allowed to use the girl’s restroom at school; we’ve seen the son of a celebrity talk about his struggles with being transgender and his mother’s struggles with understanding what it all means.
But every so often we get a ray of light that maybe the subject is getting easier to understand for many, and easier to at least fathom for others, like when Marina High School student, and a transgender student, Cassidy Lynn Campbell was crowned her school’s homecoming queen last Friday.
That’s huge; that’s history; that’s fantastic. Cassidy is believed to be the first transgender student in US history to win such a title at a public high school. I say ‘believed’ to be because who knows if there hasn’t been another student, who kept being transgender a secret and was voted homecoming king o queen.
But Cassidy is open about it, because she wants to ‘teach’ the world about what it means to be transgender, even though, initially, running for homecoming queen was just something she wanted to do. Winning the title caused her to rethink some things, and now she sees a bigger and better opportunity to make the rest of us understand what it means to be transgender:
“I realized it wasn’t for me anymore and I was doing this for so many people all around the county and the state and possibly the world and I am so proud to win this not just for me, but everyone out there.”
Cassidy now wants to become an LGBT, emphasis on the T, activist and hopes that, through her story, she can help other transgender teens 'be true to themselves and to let people know around them and to not keep it bottled up inside.'
Marina High School Principal Paul Morrow was not only proud of Campbell, but the entire student body, who have viewed Cassidy as female—because, yeah, that’s what she is—and created this historic vote:
“Were proud of the message from home of the Vikings has been one of equity, acceptance, tolerance and respect.”
Except …. As happens when there’s a first — first openly gay athlete, first openly lesbian politician, first ... anything — with Cassidy becoming the first transgender homecoming queen, comes all kinds of vitriol and hate directed at her.
In one of her YouTube videos, Cassidy Lynn Campbell said that earning the title of homecoming queen was supposed to be "so monumental and memorable" but the "ignorant" and "negative" backlash that followed her win had turned a bright day dark:
"I'm always judged and I'm always looked down upon and I'm always made fun of. Sometimes, I wonder, is it even worth it? … It just hurts so bad because I feel just as much of a girl as all of them do. … I am just as much of a human being as they are. The fact that these other people can say the things they say, and act the way they act, and think the way they think is just inhumane."
It’s ignorance, and fear of the unknown, and lack of education, that makes people react the way they have towards Cassidy, but let them take a moment to understand that she is not male — although she may have been born ‘biologically’ male — but that she is female, and always has been, and always struggled with it, and is now open to sharing with all of us her struggles. But she's one of the first, and with every first, there will be those who don’t understand, who are afraid, who are ignorant, and inhumane.
Still, Cassidy Lynn Campbell is paving the way for the next transgender teen to come forward, and their path might be slightly easier; and that transgender teen, or adult, will make the road safer for those who come after, and one day, some day, while it still might be a big deal, it won’t be met with such vitriol.
And those students at Marina High School who voted for Cassidy because she’s the one they wanted as their homecoming queen, will grow into adults who will always realize what it means to know someone transgender and they might have children one day, and they will teach their children to understand what transgender means.
Each step, each vote, each person who comes out as an L, a G, a B, and especially a T, makes the road easier for those who come after, and one day there will be less hatred, and more acceptance.
It’ll be, ‘Good for you. Now you’re who you are.’