The category is the reality of the king of high school prom.
When Cristian Hernandez was named prom king at his Indiana high school, the 18-year-old senior – standing next to his four suit-wearing contestants – barely missed a beat before strutting down the red carpet in a sequined black dress, blonde wig and feather boa to get her crown back.
“Honestly, when I came out there, I left everyone speechless,” said Hernandez, who is non-binary and uses the pronouns he and they.
Before hearing his name, however, Hernandez said he wasn’t counting on a win.
“In my head, I’m thinking, ‘I’m not going to win. I was just praying to gay lords,” he said with a laugh.
Asked about her atypical prom outfit, Hernandez said, “I was just planning on doing something really crazy for prom, and I thought, ‘Why not go drag? “”
Donning a full drag is no easy task, however. Hernandez said it took her five hours to get her party ready, including the full hair and makeup. But, he added, the extra effort wasn’t all for the glamour.
“I want to inspire people to try to break down the barriers that have been put up,” he said.
It’s not just students at Jeffersonville High School, located about 2 miles from the Kentucky border, who will enjoy Hernandez’s coronation moment. It was all caught on camera and quickly went viral after Hernandez shared it on TikTok this week. The video had 150,000 views and over 50,000 likes by Friday afternoon.
Several viewers applauded Hernandez’s prom strut.
“I was in high school in 2013 and we had ONE child in school [of] more than 2,000 children. It warms my heart that you all become your most authentic yourselves,” one person commented.
Another user said, “I’m so happy for you!!! It’s major!! I won prom king and was so close to going in drag, I’m so glad someone did.
Hernandez said everyone, including some of his classmates, wasn’t happy he won, but he just ignored them. “Boys at school, they always have a problem with something,” he said.
When asked if he had a message for other young LGBTQ people, Hernandez replied, “Really be yourself, and confidence is key. You can’t let people bring you down.
Hernandez is among a growing list of LGBTQ high school students who have made headlines for breaking down barriers and challenging traditional gender boundaries. In November, a high school in Missouri crowned its first male homecoming queen, and in September, a teenage transgender girl was crowned the first transgender homecoming queen at her Florida school.
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