|Connor Ferguson, a male-to-female transgender student at Trenton High School, in Trenton, Ont., poses with her crown and sash for winning prom queen on June 22, 2012. (QMI Agency)
TRENTON, Ont. — A transgender student says being named prom queen was the cherry on top of her high school education.
“I was really surprised,” Connor Ferguson, an 18-year-old male-to-female transgender student at Trenton High School, said of the win. “It was pretty surreal actually. If I remember correctly my jaw hit the floor and we all started laughing because it was so crazy. I walked up and the crown didn’t fit my hair, so I had to hold it.”
Ferguson had an inkling she might get a few votes, but never thought she’d walk away with the crown.
“I heard some students talking about it at school, but I thought it was just funny,” she said. “There was so many other girls that could have received it.”
Caroline Rolf voted for Ferguson and went with her to the prom.
“I voted for Connor because anyone who has been through as much as she has and still exudes so much class and confidence deserves a royal title, and not just on prom night,” Rolf said.
Ferguson admitted high school was relatively easy-going, especially considering the stigma surrounding transgenders and the LGBT community. The school has a tolerant student body and supportive staff, as well as the positive effects of the anti-bullying campaign the school holds annually, Ferguson said.
“I’ve lived as I am for four years now, so I believe the ‘shock value’ is gone and most people just accept me for me,” Ferguson said. “It took some time for quite a few people, but the school and staff definitely helped with that, and my group of friends was endlessly supportive. I think people accept you a lot more when you stick up for yourself and have enough confidence to be yourself.”
But, like many high school students, Ferguson faced her fair share of bullying.
“A couple of the older students would yell stuff at me in the hallways, but I definitely didn’t care. I didn’t feel the need to waste teachers time with telling them about it if it didn’t make me upset,” she said.
Ferguson knows the road ahead may not be as easy as her classmates and teachers have made it in high school, but she has some choice words for anyone who is trans-phobic.
“I would want to tell them I really am like any other girl,” she said. “Acceptance isn’t crucial in my life, but the fact is I’m not hurting anyone, so there’s no reason for trans-phobic behavior. I hope I can change some views along the way. If I can’t, that won’t make me lose sleep at night. I just think some people would be happier if they weren’t concerned with how I live my life.”