Oak Park transgender homecoming queen stands strong after facing criticism

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 10:26 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Oak Park High School named its second transgender Homecoming Queen, which quickly sparked controversy on social media.

But senior Tristan Young is standing strong as this is something she could’ve only dreamed about when she started transitioning in April 2022.

“I just walked out and stood in my place and faced the student section, and I saw this roar of people supporting me, and, in that moment, I just felt so overwhelmed and supported,” Young said.

But behind the crown came nasty comments on social media and protests in front of the school.

“Obviously, I’ve had talk behind my back my entire life, but it only became real when all of a sudden, ‘transgender Homecoming Queen’ was just blowing up on Twitter, Facebook and then Instagram,” Young said.

While it was hard to read, Young said she fought through it with her strong support system.

“It was surreal to see the hate I was getting, but also the support I was getting,” Young said. “I saw comments from people at school who I’d never even talked to saying all these nice things about me. Then I have people that are hating on me saying, ‘Oh, she has a big nose,’ or, ‘Oh, that’s a man, or, ‘Oh, you stole that from a woman.’ But that gets repetitive because they don’t really know anything about me.”

Young has had someone to look to during this time, Landon Patterson, a transgender woman who was crowned Homecoming Queen at Oak Park in 2015.

“It just felt good, that reassuring feeling, everything that I went through in 2015, it wasn’t for nothing,” Patterson said. “It makes me happy to see, even though there’s a lot of hate still, her family is there for her, her students are there for her, and love always beats out the hate.”

Young said she’s forever thankful for this opportunity and isn’t going to let the hate hang up her crown. “I’m really just trying to be who I want to be,” Young said. “It’s not an easy path, but nothing worth doing is really ever that easy.”

A spokesperson from North Kansas City Schools told KCTV5:

“Homecoming courts are determined by student vote. This process allows students to nominate and place their vote behind who they believe is the best representative for their class. Our students voted for this year’s King and Queen. The role of the school and/or district is to honor students’ voice and decision.”