A teenager from Wales is thought to have become the UK’s first ever transgender Prom Queen.
16-year-old Lori Benyon, who was born Luis, started transitioning two years ago after discussing her situation with her mum.
The teenager found out her classmates had voted for her when she was presented with the traditional crown and sash and said it was ‘the best moment of her life’.
Lori, who had never worn a ‘proper dress’ until prom night, was astonished to have been crowned at the end of school dance.
I was really excited to be going to prom anyway and it was the first time I had really worn a proper dress – I felt really nice – I had fake tan on and I was really happy.
I went with all my friends and I didn’t know they voted for me as Prom Queen.
That was nice but I never thought other people would [vote] too, so when they called out my name it was amazing.
The teenager, who attends Cardigan Secondary School, is due to start hormone treatment in the near future.
It was quite scary walking up in front of everyone. It was probably the best moment of my life, everyone was standing up and clapping.
I didn’t feel like I was a girl – I felt like I was a queen.
Lori said at the age of three she knew she was a girl and loved wearing her older sister Chloe’s clothes.
It was when she started school that Lori realised the ‘outside didn’t match the inside’ and started her research, aged ten, to put a name to her feelings.
I’ve always wanted to dress like a girl and present myself as a girl as being called ‘him’ and ‘he’ never really felt real to me – it always felt wrong, it was weird.
I used to put a towel on my head to pretend it was long hair.
I knew I was a girl, I didn’t think or know I was any different – it was only when I got older that I started to realise that the outside didn’t match the inside.
When I was about ten, I searched on the internet for ‘I feel like I girl and I don’t know what to do’.
Talking about her discovery of transgender people Lori said:
I had no idea what it meant to be transgender then – I had no clue. I read lots of articles about it and watched a few documentaries.
I knew that was me but I kept it inside for a really long time.
Aged just 13, Lori bravely confessed to her mother that she wanted to have gender reassignment treatment.
I told her in a text because I was too scared to tell her to her face. Puberty was the worst time in my life – it was horrible.
I would wake up and run over to the mirror and it was really hard to deal with – I would be there looking at my face and thinking ‘do I have a beard?’ and it’s horrible to feel like that.
[My mum] was really, really, really supportive – she said ‘I will support you all the way’.
Newly-confident Lori started to grow her hair and change her clothes before starting counselling at the Gender Identity Development Service at London’s Tavistock Clinic.
She also changed her name to Lori officially in June 2015.
I just want to go as far as I can to feel authentic to myself and who I am – being prom queen was one step closer.
Her mother, 37-year-old Sarah Young added:
I couldn’t be more proud of Lori. I’m not sure there’s been another transgender prom queen so I believe my daughter is the first.
Well done Lori, and good luck with your continued transition.