Last year, high school student Brooklynn Buenaventura made it onto the school's homecoming court, but something was missing. Buenaventura — who is transgender and identifies as a female, but was born in a male body — wasn't dressed as her true self. She was in a tuxedo.
"I really wanted to get out of that, I felt like I was hiding" she told KING 5.
But that all changed last Saturday night when she went to prom in a sparkling dress. She had been nominated for prom queen — and won.
Still, that was only one of Buenaventura's accomplishments. Her peers' acceptance meant just as much.
She's still in the processes of transitioning from male to female, but vowed to start being her authentic self.
"I'm still scared but it's about being brave, I want to tell other transgenders that it's ok to be out, we're not different," she said.
The good news follows Caitlyn Jenner posing after her transition for the first time on the cover of Vanity Fair. The former Olympian has stated she also wants to be her "true self" as well as help others like Buenaventura in the process.
She posted this to her Facebook page last week:
The awareness couldn't come at a better time. A survey of the LGBT community conducted between 1985 to 1998 revealed that transgender people were 20 percent of U.S. murders.
Transgender individuals bringing their triumphs and struggles into the limelight, as Buenaventura and Jenner have done, is a great start.
"You just have to be who you are," Buenaventura said.
We can't wait to see what's in store.