On Thursday, October 27, the Kansas City Council passed a resolution honoring Tristan Young, a 17-year-old student at Oak Park High School, and Landon Patterson, a 25-year-old Oak Park alum as the first two trans women named homecoming queen at Oak Park High School. The resolution dedicates LGBTQ History Month to both women.
Eight-years-ago, Landon Patterson – also known by her stage presence Lana Luxx the “Taylor Swift illusionist,” – became the first trans student to be honored with the title of homecoming queen at Oak Park High. Now Young follows in her footsteps.
“Being nominated and then becoming queen is so much deeper than just surface level,” Young said on Instagram after being crowned. “I have had a very difficult high school journey, but having the support of my friends, family and Oak Park has helped tremendously, I truly don’t know where I would be without it.”
“It just felt good, that reassuring feeling, everything that I went through in 2015, it wasn’t for nothing,” Patterson told KCTV in September. “It makes me happy to see, even though there’s a lot of hate still, [Young’s] family is there for her, her students are there for her, and love always beats out the hate.”
The Kansas City LGBTQ community stepped up to support Young and Patterson.
Notably, Justice Horn – GLAAD Media Institute Alum and Chair of the Kansas City LGBTQ Commission – was instrumental in the official honoring of Patterson and Young.
“Landon made history as the first trans woman to be voted homecoming queen at Oak Park High School in 2015, and felt no one came to her aid then. This was a chance for us to do it right and recognize a 17-year-old and 25-year-old trans trailblazer here in our community,” Horn said in a statement to GLAAD.
1,500 of Young’s classmates voted for her queendom, Them, a Condé Nast LGBTQ news publication, reported. The local community commemorated Young’s celebratory moment, while anti-LGBTQ accounts were committed to transphobic harassment.
However, Young’s community didn’t let harmful anti-trans rhetoric ruin her moment.
Then, Horn got involved.
After witnessing Young take on this honor, media attention to follow, Horn was dedicated to protecting Young. He thought more should be done than just releasing statements of support. Therefore, on Sept. 26, he sent communication to the Office of Kansas City Councilwoman Andrea Bough. He asked the city to “honor, uplift, and empower a young person.”
The LGBTQ Commission Chair has a history of uplifting LGBTQ stories, fighting anti-LGBTQ backlash, and using policy to protect the LGBTQ community in Kansas City. Additionally, Horn, among other members of the LGBTQ Commission, came to a GLAAD Media Institute media workshop titled Telling Your Story: Messaging & Media Tools for Today’s Activist on October 14. Together, the GLAAD Media Institute learned more about Kansas City’s fight for LGBTQ equality. In May, Kansas City Council approved a resolution designating the City of Kansas City a safe haven for trans healthcare. Right now, the city is working to bonify their LGBTQ hate crime ordinance.
Spent the morning with members of our Kansas City LGBTQ+ community for @glaad’s media institute training! 🌈
This training helped us build capacity and the bench around the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and liberties. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/6Rh56xzzhN
— Justice Horn (@JusticeHorn_) October 14, 2023
With that said, Horn and Kansas City public officials were among a team of supporters uplifting Young.
North Kansas City Schools celebrated Young’s crowning back in September throughout social media:
“Congratulations to @Northmen_OPHS Homecoming Queen Tristan Young,” read the post.
The National Center for Trans Equality also celebrated Young:
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Them, among many other news publications like the Kansas City Star, Teen Vogue, and PinkNews highlighted Young’s historic crowning. Nevertheless, not all the coverage was supportive. When her school crowned her, Young told KCTV that she “saw this roar of people supporting” her. However, behind the scenes “‘transgender Homecoming Queen’ was just blowing up on Twitter, Facebook and then Instagram,” she said.
View this post on Instagram
Missouri is one of the leading states, behind Texas, in introducing anti-LGBTQ legislation in 2023, according to the Equality Federation. Yet, Kansas City remains a place for hope. For Horn, this is why seizing the moment to acknowledge our LGBTQ youth in community is so important.
“As a young LGBTQ+ person myself, I think it’s vital we slow down and recognize young people, especially trans and nonbinary folks, who blaze trails each and every day. We can’t empower young LGBTQ+ people enough with everything going on in the world,” Horn said.