Sunday, April 22, 2007

Transgender Student Nominated for Prom King

At Fresno High School in Fresno California, administrators have scraped the old rule that any student running for prom king must be male. In fact, there was a state law passed in 2000 that was put in place to protect a student right and freedom to express their gender identity while on a school campus. So, Fresno High School will be adding the name Cinthia Covarrubias to the ballot for prom king. The school district's attorney advised that the school add the name of Covarrubias to the ballot to comply with the law, but Vice Principal Sheila Uriarte said, "We always want to do the right thing by our students...This is why we came to this decision."Covarrubias was nominated by class mates and will be in the running with six others for prom king. She said that she's struggled with gender roles for some time, explaining to friends and family what it means to be transgender. The definition of the word transgender is a person who has an outward appearance, and inward identity, that does not match their sex at birth. According to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, transgender is a result of a condition called Gender Identity Disorder; this is the condition of people who present themselves to be of the opposite sex and who feel like they were born into the wrong body. This feeling must be prominent for at least two years prior to being diagnosed. There is medical help available, should a transgender person want to undergo the transition into becoming, more fully, the sex they feel they truly are. This includes hormone treatments and surgery. Cinthia Covarrubias began to feel quite different around her freshman year in high school. Then, as she began to dress and act as she truly felt she was, gender-wise, it all came together and she felt better. "My freshman year I just started feeling different," she said. "When I decided to change to be like this, all of a sudden I said, 'Wow, I feel OK. I feel like finally I'm being me." Director of the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, Carolyn Laub, commented that "we are growing as a society to accept much more diversity in gender expression, and that's a positive thing."The Covarrubias prom king nomination is being called a "landmark victory for campus gender expression" by gay youth advocates, who add that they believe this to be the first case of a transgender student being considered for prom royalty.

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