FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina -- A 17-year-old transgender high school student in North Carolina says her principal refused to allow her to run for homecoming queen.
Jack Britt High School senior Marquis Monroe shared the experience on Twitter and Instagram, writing in part, "I worked so hard to be comfortable with myself." The post went viral, getting many shares and support from fellow students.
Monroe even started a petition..
"I know I was born male, but I identify as female more than male," she said. "So for me to go on stage and run as homecoming king, that would make me just feel uncomfortable. And I feel it would make other people feel uncomfortable seeing me trying to be a king when I'm obviously a queen."
Cumberland County Schools sent a statement, saying the principal changed his mind.
"The principal initially said no, but upon further consideration, he is prepared to support the student's request to participate, subject to parental approval, which is required for all participants," the statement read.
Given the new development, Monroe plans to run. She said being crowned homecoming queen would bring a feeling of acceptance.
"It helps me to know, OK, this is how people see me," she said. "The way I see myself, instead of just this guy walking around the street wearing makeup. People look at me like I'm beautiful, like I'm a human being, like everyone else."
Students at the school expressed support for Monroe.
"I feel he should have the opportunity to do it, because to change the world," senior Matthew Knight said.
"I think it's his decision if he wants to run or not, but I just don't see a problem with it," student Caleb Long said.
"We have a lot of people that may not agree with Marquis, but we also have a lot of supporters that believe that he can win it," senior Brandon Lacey said.
"I think they should give him the opportunity to run, because everybody deserves to be equal," senior Antonio Lee said. "But I think that people at our school, females that want the opportunity to be the queen are missing out if he ends up running."
The homecoming queen is scheduled to be crowned next weekend, students said.
Here is the full Statement from CCS, which said the criteria to determine student eligibility to participate in homecoming court vary by school:
"The Cumberland County Schools (CCS) values the diversity of students and strives to create a safe, welcoming environment to support student learning and provide equal access to educational programs and activities. Yesterday, a student requested to participate in the homecoming court based on their chosen gender preference. The principal initially said no, but upon further consideration, he is prepared to support the student's request to participate, subject to parental approval, which is required for all participants."
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Transgender North Carolina student says principal denied homecoming queen run