East Mecklenburg senior Blake Brockington holds the fundraising box that will determine if he becomes homecoming king on Friday.

UPDATE (Feb. 7, 2104, 10:06 p.m.): Charlotte transgender student wins homecoming race, crowned at East Mecklenburg High School

East Mecklenburg senior Blake Brockington holds the fundraising box that will determine if he becomes homecoming king on Friday.
East Mecklenburg senior Blake Brockington holds the fundraising box that will determine if he becomes homecoming king on Friday.

UPDATE (Feb. 7, 2104, 10:06 p.m.): Charlotte transgender student wins homecoming race, crowned at East Mecklenburg High School

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A 17-year-old transgender senior at East Mecklenburg High School has been nominated by his peers to run for homecoming king. The winner — whoever raises the most money for an international charity — will be crowned this Friday at East Meck’s homecoming basketball game.

Blake Brockington, who’s spent all four years of high school at East Meck, says winning the homecoming king race would raise awareness and provide an example for other transgender youth.

“I honestly feel like this is something I have to do,” says Brockington, noting few other transgender male students have had the opportunity.

Last September, a Pennsylvania school district axed a transgender student’s attempt to run as homecoming king. In October, though, a transgender male student was elected at his Concord, N.H., school.

Brockington says winning will mean the most for several younger transgender students he mentors, including a nine-year-old boy.

“He really looks up to me. That’s my heart,” Brockington says of his mentee. “He has support now and he will be able to avoid just about everything I’m going through and I don’t want him to ever have to be scared. I feel like if I do this, that’s one red flag for everybody to say, ‘Nobody should be scared to be themselves and everybody should have an equal opportunity to have an enjoyable high school experience.'”

That’s an experience Brockington hasn’t had. He came out as transgender at the end of his sophomore year. At home, his step-mother was receptive, but his father rejected the notion. At school, Brockington faced taunts, mostly from other boys, as well as a lack of understanding and education from some teachers and, even, some guidance counselors.

“It was pretty black and white; there was no gray area,” says Brockington. “It was either they were really supportive or really not supportive, and it’s still like that. … I’ve had a hard time with counselors. They’re like, ‘You’re not a boy. This isn’t your name. We’re not going to call you that.'”

But, Brockington says he’s known he is transgender since he was child. He didn’t know what it was called, but always remembers identifying as a boy. He and his mother, he says, had “a very heated discussion” when she told him he was a girl at six years old. Eventually, though, he found the words to express how he felt.

“It was winter break my sophomore year and I was on Tumblr,” he says. “I found out what transgender was and said, ‘Okay, that sounds like me.'”

He came out gradually to friends and then attended the Queer Youth Prom held by Time Out Youth Center, a local LGBT youth support and services organization.

“After that, I was like, ‘I don’t have to do this anymore — I don’t have to hide anymore or not be myself,'” he says. “I came to school my junior year and said, ‘Hey, I’m Blake.'”

Teacher Martha Deiss, whom Brockington had for a civics and economics course his sophomore year, says he was one of her brightest students.

“A great student,” Deiss says. “Always had the highest grades.”

But, Brockington’s coming out and a mix of personal and family struggles made sophomore year a particularly “rough patch.”

“That was the year that everything was kind of coming to a head, I think,” says Deiss. “He had a rough year.”

Brockington, who now lives in foster care, says life at school and elsewhere has gotten better. He’s staying focused on class work and extracurricular activities. He plays rugby for a student club at the school and, when he turns 18, hopes to play for the Charlotte Royals, a local, LGBT-inclusive rugby team. Band, too, has kept him grounded, where he’s been a drum major for two years.

Support from teachers like Deiss, his social worker, foster parents, and doctors and therapists have made all the difference. Next fall, he’ll attend the University of North Carolina-Charlotte where he intends to study mathematics with a minor in music and education.

To win the homecoming king title this week, Brockington will have to raise the most money for Mothering Across Continents. The school is contributing to the international non-profit’s efforts to build a school in South Sudan.

Brockington is getting the word out through friends at school and co-workers at his part-time job.

And, even if he doesn’t win, he’ll still be among a dozen guys on the school’s homecoming court, though Brockington is aiming for top spot.

“We’re hoping for king,” he says.

Want to support Brockington’s homecoming bid? Cash donations inside sealed envelopes can be dropped off at East Mecklenburg High School’s main office, 6800 Monroe Rd. Donations must be made before the end of the school day on Friday. Donations can also be dropped off before Thursday at Time Out Youth Center, 2320-A N. Davidson St. The homecoming game is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday.

UPDATE (Feb. 7, 2104, 10:06 p.m.): Charlotte transgender student wins homecoming race, crowned at East Mecklenburg High School

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

18 replies on “Transgender Charlotte student nominated for homecoming king”

  1. This story gives me hope that humanity is moving forward. Good luck to this young man and may he continue to live his life with pride.

  2. If we would like to donate, and we do not live close by, is there a way for us to do so? I’m afraid mailing a check or cash would not get it there by Friday.

  3. So proud of my Alma Mater; and my favorite teacher from back in those days :) Its good to see my school is still doing great things

  4. I’m glad to say I go to East Meck and know Blake. I’m in band too and from my experience of having him as a drum major, I can say that’s he’s a really good leader. He’s also really nice, funny, and is really energetic too. The people in the band at East are really close too, so when we learned about Blake, the main problem we had was getting used to calling him “Blake” after getting used calling him by his real name for so long. I was really happy when I heard from my friend on the way to the bus that Blake was nominated and I hope he wins, but judging from the rest of the nominees, he’s got some stiff competition ;)

  5. Hope you win man. I’m an East Meck alumni, and I was also in the homecoming court in 2012. It’s a really fun thing to do when you’re in high school, and you also make great memories too.

  6. So proud to be an alumni. When I hear stuff like that it just shows that we are all created equal, and all can have the same opportunities. I hope you win Blake.

  7. I hope Blake wins he seems like a pretty popular kid and this will change East forever.

  8. Fantastic personal strength and compassion for others. Trans Youth Equality Foundation supports you and access to an equal education for all students. You are our king! we will post this on our FB page so you can inspire so many other children and youth!

  9. One of my very close friends is an East Meck alumnus, and they are queer. They ran for homecoming court as well, but didn’t win either crown. I am very excited that my friend and Blake’s courage will inspire more queer students to show their pride! Stay strong Blake, you sound like a very genuine and kind man. Your perseverance in gaining queer representation will, without a doubt, make a difference for not only East Meck but for every person who reads about your nomination. Good luck!

  10. For anyone who doesn’t know Blake, he is an outstanding person who always has the best interests of others at heart. He has a phenomenal passion for academics, friends, music and sports that is not often seen in people of his age. Blake has all of the qualities students should consider when picking a homecoming king. Best of luck Blake!

  11. I’m a 56 year old white male and probably the last “type” of person you’d expect to support this young man, but regardless of whether he wins this election, he’s already a winner in figuring out who he is and who he wants to be. God bless him. He sounds like just the sort of person any child should hope to become.

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