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California Finds Its Very First Trans Cheerleader

Anry Fuentes has become her high school’s very first transgender cheerleader, according to this story from The Daily Beast. Though there are a small handful of trans cheerleaders across the country, Fuentes is the first in her county–and quite possibly all of California.

This comes after trying out for the squad the year before, when she was pre-transition. Though she wasn’t accepted then, she got up and tried again this year, after coming out as trans, and made the squad. She says she’s received nothing but support from the students and staff, which is just incredibly heartwarming to hear. She described coming out to them, saying, “One of them interrupted me, saying ‘I love you.’ They were really supportive, and they love me for who I am.”

Aaron Rosander, the school’s district superintendent, also offered words of support and encouragement towards trans students across his entire district, saying, “We’ve dealt with Anry like we’ve dealt with all students: We welcome them all, we support all the kids on their journey through life.”

Fuentes is working with the school staff to spread awareness and understanding of trans issues. For example, in the past, she had been asked to use single-occupancy bathrooms, as part of most schools’ “solutions” (read: segregation) to trans students’ restroom use. However, they’re slowly transitioning to letting her use the girls’ bathroom. While obviously it’d be nice for the school to get it right off the bat, it’s at least saying something that they’re being so open and accepting and trying to learn. A process like this–one that’s slow and requires a lot of deliberate effort–is tough, and serves as a testament to Fuentes’ patience.

Fuentes’ patience extends to the home front as well, as she’s doing her best to hold on to the hope of salvaging her relationship with her mother, whose tensions around Fuentes’ transition essentially caused the young woman to leave home. All said, she has no regrets about coming out. She said, “If I did regret it, then I wouldn’t be this happy. It’s much harder to hide than to come out as yourself.”

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