A Denair, California high school student has made history as the city’s first openly transgender cheerleader.
Anry Fuentes, 19, made the cut on the Denair High cheerleading team this year after unsuccessfully trying out for the squad last year, reports the New York Daily News. In doing so, Fuentes became the first openly transgender cheerleader in the small town, which covers just 1.9 square miles in Stanislaus County. Fuentes was previously known as “Henry.”
“Just really wanted to be on the squad,” Fuentes told local Fox affiliate KTXL. “I’m so happy and I just wanted to be, like, a cheerleader out there cheering on the boys, not just on the sidelines.”
A number of students and teachers reportedly chipped in to help Fuentes pay for the $600 cheerleading uniform.
The cheerleader said that the school’s staff and the girls on the squad have been very supportive, although Fuentes’ mother reportedly kicked the teen out of the house.
“I’ve gone to school here since second grade, and most of the girls on the squad have been here their whole lives, too,” Fuentes told the paper. “So it’s kind of hard, like ‘Oh, Henry.'”
Still, Fuentes has the support of the school district’s leadership.
“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,” Denair Unified School District Superintendent Aaron Rosander told KTXL.
Fuentes, a senior, is reportedly in good academic standing and is expected to graduate in the spring.