- Associated Press - Sunday, September 27, 2015

NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. (AP) - A teenager who was crowned the first transgender homecoming king at his suburban Twin Cities high school said his accomplishment is “a really big step” toward his goal of helping lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

Charlie Baca, 17, was crowned Friday at Irondale High School in New Brighton. Baca is the first transgender homecoming king at the school of about 1,600 students, Associate Principal Andrew Mons said.

Baca told the St. Paul Pioneer Press (https://bit.ly/1iT9hI8 ) his one goal for his senior year was to pave the way for LGBT underclassmen who may not have come out and are struggling.

“I wanted to kind of help them by showing them that it’s not as scary as the stories they might have heard … that our culture nowadays has become more accepting,” Baca said.

Baca said he was “really euphoric” about being crowned homecoming king “because I’ve been trying so hard to make a difference this year as my senior year, and being crowned king is a really big step that I didn’t think I’d accomplish.”

He came out to his parents in August.

His mother, Theresa Baca, said she enjoys seeing him so confident.

“Why he decided to (run) was just to get it out there that you can be yourself and that’s OK,” she said.

Charlie Baca gathered with the rest of the school Friday afternoon for a pep fest for the announcement of homecoming king and queen, and said he was surprised when he won.

“My heart was beating out of my chest, and I’m sure my face went bright red, and my friends in the stands were all hootin’ and hollerin.’ “

He said his next goal is to start an LGBT club at the high school. He hopes to hold the first meeting Tuesday.

“I just want to let as many people as possible know that it’s OK, and that there are people you don’t even know about that are supporting you,” he said.

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Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, https://www.twincities.com

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