Editor’s note: Some of the subjects interviewed for this article used incorrect pronouns when referring to Scarlett, who identifies as transgender and uses “she” and “her.” Although we did not change these subjects’ wording in direct quotes, we acknowledge their pronoun usage is incorrect.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A transgender girl was crowned homecoming princess at a Colorado Springs high school.
The Gazette of Colorado Springs reported Saturday that Scarlett Lenh received the majority of the votes from her junior class at Sand Creek High School, besting three other girls for the honor. She was bestowed the honor during Friday night’s football game.
The 16-year-old began identifying as a girl this school year and began using the girls’ bathroom. She said she’s known she was a girl since about age 7 or 8.
“It was really exciting. It felt really good. I couldn’t stop smiling,” Scarlett said after she found out at an afternoon assembly that the majority of the junior class had voted for her.
Two of the other girls who were nominated by their peers were “extremely supportive,” Scarlett said, and the other “was really upset.”
Scarlett said she didn’t think she’d be nominated.
“One of my friends mentioned it, and I didn’t think anything of it because I didn’t think I’d be nominated. But, now, it really matters to me,” she said. “This is something I’ve wanted to do since my freshman year. I want people to be themselves and not feel uncomfortable in their own body and mind.”
The school in Falcon School District 49 is in the same city as Focus on the Family and the National Association of Evangelicals.
“The leaders at Sand Creek High School and in District 49 respect the decision of the Scorpion student body in electing their homecoming court,” district spokesman Matt Meister said in a statement. “Our board policy sets the standard that we do not exclude any person from participating in any program or activity on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.”
Not everyone is supportive.
“It’s craziness,” said Jana Neathery, whose granddaughter attends Sand Creek. “Originally, it was a joke that he was going to be nominated for homecoming princess, but he got a lot of nominations,” she said, referring to Scarlett, “and now there are a lot of upset girls because a spot was taken from them.”
“I’m very sympathetic that he’s transgender, but he should be on the boys’ side, not the girls’.”
Sand Creek student Michael Carl said he has been a friend of Scarlett’s since the seventh grade.
“He has always been there for me and is truly a good person,” Michael said. “I support him because it takes a lot of courage and a lot of character to do what he is doing.”
Last year, a transgender first-grade girl won the right to use the girls’ restroom at another Colorado Springs-area school district. The Colorado Civil rights Division ruled that not allowing Coy Mathis to use the girls’ bathroom violated Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act.