LOCAL

Ascension Parish trans teen voted to Dutchtown High School homecoming court

Staff Report
Aria Williams, a transgender teen, was nominated to the Dutchtown High School homecoming court this year.

Aria Williams, a transgender teenager, recently was among the students celebrated on the homecoming court for Dutchtown High School in Geismar.

She was told by her principal she was the first trans person in Ascension Parish to make the homecoming court, according to a Gambit article that featured the special occasion.

As a transgender teen in a relatively small suburban Baton Rouge community, Williams told the publication her high school experience has been far from easy as she has endured bullying and transphobic comments from both students and parents for years.

On Twitter, Erin Reed shared a post featuring photos of Williams being recognized at Dutchtown's Griffin Field for homecoming. The tweet has received hundreds of retweets and thousands of likes.

"She got so many cheers! I've spoken with Aria and she has given permission to post. Being from Louisiana, this feels so big - trans people are everywhere. We belong," Reed stated in the social media post.

Reed shared the following message with the USA Today Network: "I am from Louisiana myself. I was afraid growing up as a queer kid in Louisiana. Seeing Aria not only tolerated but celebrated makes me smile. I know that her visibility will help change things for other kids in Louisiana who may also be scared to be themselves openly. She's very brave in a world where a teenager shouldn't have to be."

When Reed asked Williams if she had a message to send to everyone, she said: "It pays to be yourself. If you're lying to yourself about who you are, then you're not thriving."