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West Orange Times & Observer Monday, Oct. 11, 2021 8 months ago

Olympia High School crowns first transgender Homecoming queen in Florida

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Evan Bialosuknia is making history by following her heart.
by: Annabelle Sikes Staff Writer

Evan Bialosuknia is making Florida and school history by following her heart. 

Bialosuknia was elected Homecoming queen by Olympia High School. She is the state's first transgender Homecoming queen. 

“It made me feel like I actually belonged — not just like a joke — because that was one of my fears,” Bialosuknia said. “I was like in bed one night, and just like, ‘What if they were just doing this to laugh at me?’”

The Homecoming game’s halftime brought a show of support from her friends and classmates and even the crowned king.

“There’s only good energy; just a great person,” Bialosuknia said of the king. “He just made me feel like any other girl.”

Olympia High School Principal Christy Gorberg said the school was thrilled to celebrate Bialsuknia as she was crowned.

"This is the first time in school history that an openly trans student has received this honor," Gorberg said. "For us, this was less about making history and all about the joy and positivity that Evan brings to our school as a student and to her peers as a classmate and friend. Orange County Public Schools and Olympia High School embrace and support an accepting environment for all students and this is a great example of our community.”

At age 17, Bialosuknia said she is finally living the way she feels.

She first came out as transgender in June. She started her transition only a few months ago, and although she is feeling more confident than ever, she said she still has a long way to go, with more changes coming. 

Coming out was anything but easy for Bialosuknia. Marnie, Evan's mother, said Evan had been in therapy for many months trying to process the many emotions and feelings she was experiencing. Evan has dealt with anxiety and depression, as well. 

However, she said she is grateful for her family and friends who have provided her a strong support system. 

"The school has been very accepting, supportive and diverse, which is required in my opinion for a public school," Evan said. "To have diversity and a safe space to go is important for anyone."

Evan is the youngest of three children who have all attended Olympia High School. Marnie said over the years, in terms of bullying, things have gotten much better. 

"I honestly was not expecting Evan to even be on the Homecoming court ballot, but when she was, I mean, it was just amazing," Marnie said.

Orange County Public Schools also celebrated Evan. 

 “Orange County Public Schools is committed to providing our students with a welcoming and inclusive school environment where commonalities and differences are celebrated and honored by all," OCPS said. "The students and staff at Olympia High School truly exemplify that commitment.”

Evan said the process has been extremely heartwarming. 

"Knowing that I have such a big group of people like the school student body on my side supporting me makes me feel even more confident in the fact that I can just be myself freely without having to worry about what other people think," Evan said. 

Evan said it's important for other students going through similar transitions to remember that being part of the LGBTQ+ community doesn't separate you from others.

"It doesn't make you any different, and it doesn't make you any less of a person," Evan said. "You can have the same achievements, goals and dreams."

In the future, Evan said she hopes being a transgender girl to win Homecoming isn't something newsworthy. 

"It's not all roses," Marnie said. "It's not easy, and it's not a simple process, but it's something that's worth it, and we will always support Evan and our other children in anything they do. Evan is more confident at 17 than I am at 48, and her confidence inspires me."

Evan said although the journey is hard, it does get better. 

"If you present yourself as a strong, outgoing, beautiful person, then that's how you're going to look," she said. "I am learning that, and I think it's important for the LGBTQ+ community to remember it, too." 

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Annabelle Sikes is a staff writer at the West Orange Times & Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. She graduated in May 2021 from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in sociology.  Her past...

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