Trans teen overcomes death threats to be crowned homecoming queen
Trans teenager Charlie Baum never imagined it would be possible for her to be crowned homecoming queen at her Georgia school.
17-year-old Baum told PinkNews it was “so validating” to win the title at Forsyth Central High School in Forsyth County—just north of Atlanta—on Saturday (January 26).
The teenager, who said she has experienced “death threats and plenty of public humiliation” at the school, had her whole perspective turned upside down after her friends nominated her for queen.
“I went from feeling ready to get out of high school so that I could be normal and just feel like a normal girl—not so much of an oddity or outcast—to feeling like there was a majority of students who support me,” Baum said.
“Winning a queen title was never something that seemed feasible to me, so it’s a very good feeling to know that I was wrong. This let me know that I do have a chance at normalcy and royalty.”
“My mum was behind me crying with my dad, and my grandma was also in the bleachers, full-on funeral sobbing with joy.”
— Trans homecoming queen Charlie Baum
When the announcement was made, Baum said her family exploded with happiness and “so much screaming. They were in the bleachers and they just ran down and all started hugging me—and then there was even more screaming.
“My mum was behind me crying with my dad, and my grandma was also in the bleachers, full-on funeral sobbing with joy. It was a happy moment for all of us.”
Trans homecoming queen grew up scared in Forsyth County
Baum said that growing up in Forsyth County, where thousands of white supremacists including Ku Klux Klan members marched against cultural acceptance of gay and black people in the late 1980s, was “scary.”
She knew she was a girl in elementary school, and was comfortable with herself until she realised her “very intense love for Hannah Montana and literally ANYTHING pink was frowned upon.”
Baum recalled “mostly just being sad” throughout middle school and was “scared of ridicule, scared of harassment and scared of myself” until high school, when she started wearing makeup and dressing in drag.
She said she was finally “able to find the confidence to be openly loud and proudly gay,” but this prompted backlash from some intolerant students.
“This year, in particular, I spent the first semester not out as trans but instead going to school regularly with crazy dramatic makeup,” she said. “This angered plenty of people, some to the point of harassment.”
As well as receiving death threats, the teenager was also bullied in front of other students.
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