June 3, 2011— -- Andii Viveros was in shock when it was her name that was announced as queen of the McFatter Technical High School prom.
"I don't even remember what happened at that moment," the 17-year old high school senior said. "I knew people were voting for me, people care enough to vote for me."
Andii isn't the typical prom queen. She was born Andrew Viveros in Davie, Fla., where some of the people weren't so understanding when she started living as a young woman two years ago. She wears a full face of makeup to school, and dresses, and is not afraid to stand up for herself.
"Last year, she said I couldn't wear a dress to school because it could create a disturbance," said Viveros of a former principal. Viveros' reaction? Wear a dress the very next day.
So Viveros wasn't surprised when she was bombarded with hateful messages online and unsettling phone calls once people found out that she had nominated herself for prom queen.
Schoolmates would say that "there would be problems" if she didn't back down and wrote nasty messages on one another's Facebook walls. Viveros went to the new principal, who called every single person into her office who'd harassed Viveros and disciplined them.
"She said, 'Don't back down for anything, I want you to run,'" said Viveros. She didn't. "I'm doing in my heart what I want to do, the right thing to do."
When prom night finally came, they called all the candidates onstage one at a time. First the court, then the third runner up and then the second. Viveros' name still hadn't been called, and she was left standing next to a very popular girl who she was sure would win. Then, the announcement.
"They said, 'Your prom queen is Andrew Viveros," said Viveros, recalling the moment. "I just had this weird smile on my face."
Since winning, Viveros' story has circulated around the world. Just searching her name on the Internet brings up a myriad of blog posts and articles -- many written by those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community. As president of the Gay Straight Alliance at her high school, Viveros said her winning was a great thing for the LGBT community.
"People are actually writing to me, how I'm making a difference," she said. "That it actually gets better, that they have something to strive for."
For now, Viveros' crown is on display in her mother's china cabinet. After graduation, which is this coming Monday, she will attend college to take culinary courses.