Cassidy Lynn Campbell

Cassidy Lynn Campbell, the newly crowned homecoming queen at Marina High in Huntington Beach, gets ready for the school's homecoming dance Saturday. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times / September 21, 2013)

A transgender teenager who was named homecoming queen at Marina High in Huntington Beach said she is dealing with both praise and criticism this weekend.

"It seemed like a dream," Cassidy Lynn Campbell said. "I just think it is such a huge step for the transgender community. The majority at my school wanted me to win. So many people embraced me and accept me for who I am. I think that is pretty profound."

The Marina High senior said she put herself up for the title because she hoped to make a statement and draw attention to the push for equality for transgender people. She also became part of a small but growing movement of transgender teens nationwide entering competitions for traditional honors such as homecoming and prom king and queen.

PHOTOS: Transgender teen crowned homecoming queen

Cassidy said her legs shook with nervousness in a ceremony during Friday night's football game as she stood next to her mother. When she was named winner, she dropped to her knees and broke into tears. Friends began hugging her. The crowd chanted her name.

"It was all very amazing," she said. She celebrated afterward by going to a Norm's diner with about 15 friends and ordering the Lumberjack breakfast: pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausages and hash browns.

Her revelry came to a halt, though, when she returned home and saw what she described as ignorant and hateful attacks on social media.

For a while, she grew angry and tearful.

"They were voicing their opinion about something they don't even know the full story about. I got really emotional. But when morning came, I was a lot better."

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