meet california's first transgender cheerleader
High school senior Anry Fuentes just became California’s first transgender cheerleader. Go Coyotes!
Cheerleading was once America's ultimate symbol of gender stereotypes. But the sport is changing to reflect the times. While the spiffy white sneakers and rustling pom-poms remain the same, cheerleading is no longer exclusively the realm of conventional gender norms. The sidelines of football games today are filled with gay and male cheerleaders rooting for the home team. And this past football season, 18-year-old Anry Fuentes helped break the typical cheerleader mold when she became California's first transgender cheerleader.
Anry first started cheerleading for the Denair High School Coyotes (two hours east of San Francisco) last April, when she still identified as a boy, named Henry. She told Today that joining the cheerleading team was the best moment of her life. "When I found out after the tryouts in April that I made it, I cried a little bit. I was just happy and excited." But when Anry realized that she wasn't gay, and was in fact transgender, her cheer squad rallied around her and supported her decision.
"They were really nice," Anry told People. "They were like, 'We support you for who you are. We love you, and it's not going to change anything. We're not going to see you any differently.' "
In the world of spirit sticks, homecoming courts and high school drama, Anry is doing more than just cheering on her local football team. She is changing the face of an outmoded American pastime.
Text Hana Beach
Image via @anryfuentes