University of Northern Iowa Names School’s First Transgender Homecoming Queen

21-year-old student Steven Sanchez was crowned Homecoming Queen last week at the University of Northern Iowa. Sanchez is the first transgender person to win that title at the university.

“When they called my name so many memories came rushing back about how I never thought I would find a community anywhere,” Sanchez said in an interview. “I never thought I would be accepted within the larger community. And when I was standing on that stage being crowned and people were cheering … it honestly felt like all my dreams were coming true.”

Sanchez identifies as “gender queer,” otherwise known as gender nonconforming. She does not exclusively identify with one particular gender or the other. Because of this, she said she’s often felt like an outsider and was bullied as a young person.

“Kids don’t like anything that’s different at all,” she said in a video interview. “I was always terribly bullied in school. I learned the word ‘gay’ from kids who would make fun of me for being gay.”

Growing up in San Antonio, TX, Sanchez said the bullying eventually got so bad that she was forced to drop out of high school her freshman year. She earned her degree through a program at a community college in Texas before enrolling at the University of Northern Iowa.

Today, Sanchez says she hopes her victory will bring more attention to transgender issues.

“One of the main reasons I did this was to raise awareness of LGBT issues and trans students on campus and I feel like just by running I did that,” Sanchez stated in a video.

“There was a long while where I tried so hard to hide who I am,” she continued. “Today I’m going to do what I want and be happy and not let other people’s perceptions of me affect how I feel about myself.”

Congratulations to Sanchez and all her supporters!

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  • Thedrdonna

    This is really awesome! Just as a side note, I think he uses male pronouns.

  • yaoming

    Universities have homecomings? I thought that was a high school thing.

  • mike1988

    You see some things that point to SO MUCH progress, then you see some things that point to how backward we really are. This is truly outstanding, particularly for the Midwest. Congrats to Steven and to the University as a whole.

  • Ron Jackson

    This is why the Grumpy Old Party of White Males is doomed to die.

  • Dakotahgeo

    @yaoming: Nope… they’re still in style at Universities, Colleges, Academies, et al. I’m amazed about this story though… IOWA??? Yeeeee Haaaaaaa!!! All the absolute best to Steven Sanchez!!!

  • Teleny

    I hope this is honest & not goofing on him. Being Trans I’m always a bit suspicious. We are still societies’ favorite joke. Either way proud of Steven!

  • jimbryant

    All he’s done is adopt the fetishes of women – ie long hair and make-up. He’s become a stereotype..

  • Dakotahgeo

    @jimbryant: This is so much deeper than your simple comment. Read, study, educate yourself, learn… before you post such inane, vacuous statements.

  • sirald66

    Bigender. Its simple.

    Use the pronouns they are acting, no need to ask/announce; if they are ambiguous, then just use 3rd-person pronouns.

    This ‘preferred gender pronouns’ campaign is unnecessary.

  • Dxley

    @Dixie Rect: What do you say about this article?

  • Jake357

    I only glanced at the thumbnail briefly. At first, I thought that was Lea Michele. LOL

  • Patmoeller

    UNI has come a long way since I attended in mid-70s. Living in Ryder hall and out , had phone lines cut ,called names when walking on campus, a sign posted on my door to move to Texas , land of steers and queers . ( I live in Texas now ). Good for her and the University …times are a changing !

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