It’s hard to find heroes today. You made it easy to do so. And yes, you are most certainly a hero.
Few people choose to take a stand and often lack the courage of conviction to move forward. You made history in one of the most conservative areas of the country when your friends and classmates at Marina High School crowned you their Homecoming Queen. You deserve every smile, every cheer and every high five you can get. So many of us are so proud of you and what you accomplished. And we’re proud of your classmates for voting for you. It shows great promise for the next generation of this country.
While I was preparing to draft a post on your historical achievement, I discovered your YouTube post where the Internet trolls did their best to ruin your moment and hurt your feelings. It was devastating to watch. And it changed the post I was going to write.
Anonymous Internet trolls are a cowardly lot. They post mean, sick and twisted things designed to hurt their targets. These are the sort of people who delight in pulling wings off flies, stealing candy from little kids, and writing nasty comments on bathroom walls. Last week, in a comment to a reader, I likened them to crickets. You can’t see them. You can hear them. They are noisy. But when you shine a light on them or walk near them, they are silent and try to move away from you. They lack spine, any semblance of morality, and courage.
For every hateful comment posted anonymously on social media about you, there are 100, no, therer are 1,000 people (10,000?) who are cheering your achievement and your courage and your positive outlook on life. It’s hard enough to be a teenager let alone a transgendered one. Your classmates and your teachers also sent a powerful message of hope, tolerance and understanding. I wish more people spoke out to tell you so and to challenge the cowards seeking to belittle your achievement. The best remedy for hate speech is more speech that counters it.
Like it or not, you’ve become a leader to many simply by being true to yourself. Please know so many people from all over Huntington Beach, all over Orange County, all over California and all over this country were hoping you’d win and are proud of you for wearing that crown and sash. Enjoy everything high school has to offer. Celebrate you friends and family who were there for you when you won. Be the person you were born to be. And use this historic moment to show how courage and love can overcome spite and hate.
Don’t let the trolls get to you. Your success in the weeks, months and years ahead are your armor. The support and love from your family and friends are your strength and your foundation. Speak your mind. Follow your heart. Do what needs to be done.
While we are all so sorry for the anonymous cowards you feel the need to inflict pain, just know how proud we are of you for what you’ve done and the courage you’ve shown. Continue being brave.