Maka Brown was elected prom queen by her classmates at Salt Lake City’s School for the Performing Arts. Although the honor is a common part of high school culture, Maka is the first transgender prom queen crowned in the state of Utah.
As reported by People, Maka was looking forward to attending the gala with her boyfriend, Ross Dittman. The high-school senior borrowed a mint-green gown from her mother, and let her younger sister fix her hair. Although she looked and felt like a princess, she was stunned to receive the coveted tiara.
Maka Brown said being crowned prom queen is a big step, as she struggled with her identity for several years. Although she did not have a label for how she felt, she “knew that [she] was different and that [she] didn’t fit in.”
At the age of 16, Maka read an article that changed her life. The article, which was about transgender teens, helped Maka put a name to her unfamiliar feelings. It also gave her the courage to come out to her family and friends.
Maka’s mother, Toni, said she was initially apprehensive and expected the teen to “grow out of it.” However, she eventually realized her daughter needed, and deserved, her support.
Toni said she has the utmost respect for her daughter, because “she chose to be authentic, rather than hide who she really is.”
Maka’s father, Gary, said he “wasn’t really surprised” to learn Maka is transgender. He said his daughter always “has a sweet soul” and he is proud that she is comfortable with herself.
— Stefi (@stefi_dreamix) April 30, 2015
As reported by KUTV, the support Maka received from her family, friends, and classmates helped her transition into her true self.
“Strive to be the most authentic person you can because authenticity is tantamount to happiness” – Maka Brown. http://t.co/qsGGfYYpEU
— Utah Pride Center (@utahpridecenter) April 29, 2015
School for the Performing Arts Vice-Principal Ron Literall said he is proud that Maka Brown was elected prom queen.
“The students who walk through our doors are a melting pot of personality types, genders, ethnicities, and religious convictions. They are blossoming dancers, actors, musicians and scholars. We value Maka and all of our students for who they are.”
Although Maka would like to have gender-reassignment surgery, she is specifically focused on her career. She currently performs for the Utah Flying Trapeze center as an acrobat and juggler. Following graduation, she “hopes to eventually get a job traveling the world as a circus performer.”
Maka Brown is proud to be prom queen. However, she said her ultimate goal is simply to be happy.
[Image Laura Stone/Shutterstock]