With the debut of Orange is the New Black, we all watched Laverne Cox rise to fame becoming the first openly transgender to be nominated for an Emmy. Cox used her newfound fame as a platform to educate the masses about the adversity she has faced.
Today, we have another member of the transgender community making history. This year, in Texas, marks the crowning of the first transgender homecoming king. At Stephen F. Austin High School, Mel, who was once living as Melanie, is using his popularity to encourage other members of the transgender community.
The summer between junior high and high school marked the beginning of Mel’s transition from female to male. During his sophomore year of high school he began hormone replacement therapy, and by his junior year Mel legally had his name and gender identifier changed. As he embarked on this new journey, Mel, along with friends, created a safe space for other LGBT students at Stephen F. Austin High School by starting a Gay Straight Alliance chapter.
According to New York magazine, when Mel was first nominated he felt impartial to the ballots casted in his honor. However, the now 17-year-old boy realized this could be an opportunity to campaign for other transgenders.
“I wanted to show that a guy like me can live a normal life and still be visible in the community and be widely accepted,” he said. “I think that is an incredible feat.”
Following Mel’s win, transgender guys have been messaging him on social media pages such as Facebook and Tumblr, asking him for advice and thanking him for being so vocal.