High schooler Stiles Zuschlag has had a roller coaster of a year. On track to become valedictorian at Tri-City Christian Academy in Somersworth, NH, the studious student, who excelled in biblical studies, was subsequently kicked out of his religious–based school after talking to a school administrator about a transition.
Zuschlag had attended the school since kindergarten.
According to the LGBT blog The Slowly Boiled Frog, that school administrator tried to talk the transgender teen, who was accompanied by his mom at the time, into seeking “Christian Counseling,” stopping testosterone treatments, and repenting his “sins.”
Here’s how Planet Transgender described that period of Zuschlag’s life:
The Christian school gave the Valedictorian a choice that too often ends in suicide, that of seeking religious based gender conversion and an end to HRT or rejection from the family he loved and trusted since birth.
“It felt brutal to me,” Zuschlag told WCSH channel 6. “I can’t believe I grew up under you. I looked up to you and now you’re pushing me away like a problem. Like I’m a disease.”
On his Twitter profile, Zuschlag wrote: “Everyone is telling me I won’t make it. They’ll be saying that behind my back while I’m one step ahead of them.”
As it turns out, a noble turn awaited Zuschlag at the Noble High School in North Berwick, ME, which welcomed its newest ace student. On Friday night, at halftime during a game between Noble and Greely High School, a classmate announced that Zuschlag had been voted homecoming king.
“My heart kind of dropped. I was extremely shocked and excited. I felt like crying. It was the most surreal thing that’s ever happened to me, and I hadn’t even been there a month yet,” Zuschlag told WCSH.
Here are a couple more photos from the memorable night: