California Has Its First Transgender Cheerleader

Anry Fuentes makes history
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2015 4:42 PM CST
Transgender Cheerleader Speaks Out: 'It Was Tough'
Anry Fuentes.   (YouTube)

Anry Fuentes seems to be finding more acceptance on her cheerleading squad than she did at home. At 18, Anry has made history by becoming the only transgender cheerleader in California and one of very few across the nation, the Daily Beast reports. "People are scared of what they don’t know," she says. "When they know what it’s about, they’ll learn to understand it." Anry still identified as male when she made the squad at Denair High School in Denair, Calif., then decided to tell her teammates that she was transitioning: "They were really nice," she tells 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.'"

Anry's coach supported her, and students raised $600 for her female uniform. "Gender identity and expression is protected by the law and is given unwavering support in Denair Unified," says the DUSD's superintendent, per the Turlock Journal. But it hasn't all been smooth: Anry has moved away from home over conflicts with her mother about her gender identity; she also hears from students who don't consider her female. "I’m not sugarcoating it, it was tough," she says. "But my life is given to me once and I’m going to make the most of it." And Anry's not alone: 17-year-old Landon Patterson, who came out as transgender in middle school, is cheerleading on her high school team in Kansas City, Mo., and even became homecoming queen, OutSports reported in September. "My life is cheer," Landon says. "It gave me a second family."(In Illinois, a transgender student has won a legal fight to use the girls' locker room.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.