A gender-fluid Florida teen will now be eligible to run for homecoming queen at his high school after he says he was initially told he couldn’t do so.
Anthony Martinez, who attends Cypress Creek High School in Orlando, Florida, told local ABC affiliate WFTV 9 that Principal John McHale initially told him that he could not run for homecoming queen because he’s male. Martinez said his boyfriend, Joncarlo Medina, had planned to run for homecoming king alongside him.
“I started crying,” Martinez said. “It made me really emotional considering how hard I was trying to be queen.”
Shortly after the conversation, however, a spokesperson for Cypress Creek High School told WFTV 9 that Martinez would, in fact, be eligible to run for homecoming queen because McHale had not “consulted with the central office, but made what he thought was an appropriate decision at the time.”
Kathy Marsh, the senior manager of media relations for Orange County Public Schools, told The Huffington Post that McHale’s initial decision was based on a misunderstanding that arose during his conversation with Martinez.
“The principal and student talked [and] the principal made a decision based on what he was hearing,” Marsh, who would not reveal specifics of the conversation, said. “The student was told that it would be unlikely that his participation would be allowed, but it was based on something that was said in the conversation.”
According to Marsh, McHale later “discovered that [Martinez] identifies as gender fluid” and, as such, “definitely can run for queen.”
“If this child wants to do this, he’s more than welcome to,” she said. “We’re fine with that.”
If he wins, Martinez would follow in the footsteps of other LGBT teens who have scored prom and homecoming royalty contests across the country in recent years. In 2014, 17-year-old Nasir Fleming was elected prom queen at Danbury High School in Danbury, Connecticut. Although he is not transgender himself, Fleming called the victory a “statement against transphobia.”
A year earlier, Cassidy Lynn Campbell, who identifies as transgender, was crowned homecoming queen at Marina High School in Huntington Beach, California.
We’re rooting for you, Anthony!