Prom is one of the most memorable nights of a high school student’s life. For one small-town girl in Wisconsin, prom night is one for the history books.
On Saturday, Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin, voted transgender student Nikko Nelson prom queen.
When she was little, “I didn’t realize that I wanted to be a girl,” Nelson told WISN. “I just noticed that I had mostly girl friends and I participated in most of the ’girl’ activities.”
She began identifying as a female in junior high school: When she discussed how she felt with her parents, they were supportive of her transitioning and allowed her to wear her first dress to her eighth-grade graduation.
“This was before Caitlyn Jenner and everything was in the news,” Nelson’s mother told the station. “We really didn’t [know much]. Nikko kind of educated us about it.”
Nelson says she was shocked by her victory. “My friend was in the hallway and she came up to me and she said ’They said you won prom queen,’ and I was like ’Are you being serious?'”
Although Mequon has less than 25,000 residents, Nelson doesn’t see herself as a trailblazer.
“I just like to think of myself as a normal person, but at the same time I realize that I do have a different quirk to me,” the high-school junior said. “I didn’t win prom queen for being a transgender girl. I won prom queen for being Nikko Nelson.”
And her parents couldn’t be prouder. “As much as Nikko is a transgender girl, she’s our daughter,” her mom added.
A University of Minnesota study suggests the number of American teens who identify as trans or gender-nonconforming is significantly higher than previously believed: Of more than 80,000 9th and 11th graders, nearly 3% of respondents—or about 2,2000 teens—identified as transgender, genderqueer, gender fluid, or “unsure.”