Community rallies in support of school's first transgender homec - KCTV5 News

Community rallies in support of school's first transgender homecoming queen

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Landon Patterson came out as a transgender female last year while staying active as a cheerleader and show choir member at Oak Park High School. Classmates made their acceptance clear through the annual nomination and voting process for homecoming queen. Landon Patterson came out as a transgender female last year while staying active as a cheerleader and show choir member at Oak Park High School. Classmates made their acceptance clear through the annual nomination and voting process for homecoming queen.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Students are rallying around a transgender homecoming queen at a Northland high school.

Landon Patterson came out as a transgender female last year while staying active as a cheerleader and show choir member at Oak Park High School. Classmates made their acceptance clear through the annual nomination and voting process for homecoming queen. 

She was given her crown as she stood next to her mom, Debbie Hall, on the school's football field last month.

On Thursday, members of the Westboro Baptist Church protested at the school, but students and members of the community struck  first with a rally of support at Oak Grove Park.

Far more people attended the event organized as love and support for Patterson than were at the Westboro event.

The Westboro protect started and ended peacefully. It was held Wednesday afternoon at the corner of North Oak Trafficway and Northeast 79th Terrace.

District officials opposed any counter protests by student. Students were not allowed to leave school for a protest, and Westboro protestors were not on school grounds.

Local law enforcement officials were at school to ensure there were no issues.

Brian Scheetz wouldn't allow his son to skip school for the protest, but he did it on behalf of his family. He was angered that Westboro would target a high school student.

"We want to show that Landon is a part of our community and a big part of the school," Scheetz said. "As a friend of my son's, we're just here to show our support."

Some students said they wanted to counter protest with love since they say Westboro is protesting with hate.

Landon always dreamed of riding in the parade and joining the ranks of the high school tradition, but never thought classmates would look at her as a female.

"I've dreamed about it since my freshman year, but I never knew it was possible for me," she said. "Just knowing that I did this, and that I just broke some barriers, I can't even put it into words what I'm feeling right now. I'm just excited and hope this is going to help others out there."

Patterson said she spent most of her life identifying as a gay male, but always knew there was something more.

"There was always something so much deeper inside me. I finally realized, I am female. I feel like I'm a girl on the inside," Patterson said.

The United Church of Christ had members at the love counter protest.

John Dorhauer, a church pastor and leader, said Westboro's actions sadden him.

"I believe if the gospel is about anything it's about love your neighbor and to see people across the street teaching that Jesus hates you for who you are deeply saddens me," Dorhauer said.

Others were mystified by Westboro.

"It annoys me," said 17-year-old Setahanie Feeney. "I honestly think like they are not real. I'm like are these people serious? How can you be that hateful?"

The chants and signs helped drive the Westboro group away after just 30 minutes.

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