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'A trailblazer:' Trans teen defies bullies who voted her onto homecoming court in jest

Cassie Steiner was voted Mariemont High School's sophomore homecoming princess by her peers.
Cassie Steiner was voted Mariemont High School's sophomore homecoming princess by her peers.

See the latest:Trans teen wears homecoming crown with pride despite bullies' jest

Mariemont High School student Cassie Steiner was voted sophomore homecoming princess this week.

Her mother, Kat Steiner, said her daughter came out as a transgender girl in April and has been living and socializing as a young woman since June.

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Cassie Steiner has not dealt with a ton of teasing or bullying to her face since transitioning, her mom said. That's not the way of the Mariemont community, where the family has lived for about a decade. If there were hateful things being said about her daughter, Kat Steiner told The Enquirer, she's certain they would be said "behind closed doors or in closed circles."

Case in point: Steiner's classmates voting her to homecoming court as a "prank."

Kat Steiner said she was angry and disgusted when the school guidance counselor called Wednesday to say her daughter was voted in as a homecoming princess as a mean-spirited joke. The teen could decline her nomination and opt out of homecoming court, the guidance counselor offered.

But Cassie Steiner, who is 15, wasn't angry, and she was not about to give up her crown.

"She didn't hesitate to own the fact that she was not going to back down," Kat Steiner said of her daughter. "She knew that she was going to be a trailblazer."

Mariemont teen 'making history as trans royalty.' Mom's Facebook post goes viral

Kat Steiner took to Facebook on Thursday to garner support for her daughter ahead of Mariemont's Friday night homecoming parade.

"Cassie is taking the high ground and making history as trans royalty," the elder Steiner wrote in her Facebook post. "She's owning her title as the sophomore Homecoming Princess because, well, when they go low, we go high. We choose to celebrate!"

The post garnered hundreds of comments, more than 2,400 reactions and had been shared more than 1,000 times as of Friday morning. Dozens of supporters offered to join in by making signs to cheer Cassie Steiner on throughout the parade.

"I will not associate with people who do not value myself or my family," Steiner's Facebook post reads. "Transgender youth and people are not here to be exploited, used, or mistreated. It's cruel. If you are a parent, I hope this is the conversation you're having in your own circles and I'm happy to talk about this more with anyone."

The parade will start at Mariemont Elementary School, located at 6750 Wooster Pike, at 5:30 p.m. Friday. The parade will make its way through the village of Mariemont and end at the high school.

Mariemont administrators stay quiet

Cassie Steiner will be escorted by three school administrators Friday night, her mother said, including the high school's principal and vice principal. But Kat Steiner said she has yet to get an apology from any school administrators and said Mariemont City Schools' superintendent Steven Estepp has not reached out at all.

"I think the school has been ill-prepared for this," she said. "I think this is political, not just in Mariemont but across the nation. It's a tough position for the school to be in and I recognize that. I'm sensitive to that. I am trying very hard to give grace ... and allow the school time to figure out what their next steps are.

"At the same time, I will never call Mariemont progressive."

The district did not respond to direct questions from The Enquirer, either, including if administrators consider the prank to be bullying and how they are responding to the incident.

The district did send out a media statement and a letter to district families that did not address the prank but instead outlined the process by which students are elected onto homecoming court.

"The process includes check-ins with students who are nominated to allow them to continue in or opt-out of the process. After the final round of voting, the nominated students are then offered a second opportunity to participate in the ceremonies or opt-out of the public celebrations. While we know many of our students want to participate in these traditions, not all do," the district's statement to the media reads. The letter sent to families includes similar information.

"Our homecoming crowning ceremony this year will honor students that have been nominated and selected by their peers throughout this process and we believe this group of students will represent their classes with honor and distinction," Mariemont High School Principal Jim Renner wrote in Thursday's note to district families. "We expect that our student body and our community will, as always, recognize this tradition as an opportunity to celebrate our students and use this occasion to honor the excellence of Mariemont City Schools."

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Mariemont teen stands up to bullies who voted her homecoming princess