WHEN WE FIRST WALKED IN the door, they handed out a little piece of paper that said "King" and "Queen." And you wrote down the names of the people that you thought should win. I was joking around with a friend, and she said, "I voted for Mr. Vandriot," who is the school resource officer. And I said, "Man, you should have voted for me, I want to win." And she was like, "That'd be awesome." So the few people around me voted for me-like my best friend. And I'm not sure how it spread to whoever else; I don't know how everybody else found out about it.
So we were just hanging out, dancing, just goofing around. We were getting ready to leave and we were walking toward the door and they said they were going to announce the winners. So we figured, Well, we'll hang out a few minutes and see who wins.
And we were all like, "It's going to be Kara Johnson and Joey Joshua." Joey is a half-African-American, half-Caucasian football player, basketball player, athlete, big, goofy guy. Kara is like a five-foot, two-inch Barbie doll who's the head cheerleader.
So they said, "The 2001 Prom Queen is Kara Johnson." And we're like, "Okay, whoopee, big surprise." And I didn't hear them say my name, so I'm just standing there, because it was totally not something that I expected; and I figured even if I had got enough votes to win, just on principle, the school would not have let me have it. But they did, which surprised me a lot.
Knowing the teachers in charge of it, I'm sure that there was definitely, "Is this a mean joke? Do we think Krystal will appreciate this? Should we throw this out?" And I think that they were all pretty much aware that it was something that I would not have been offended by or found a bad thing. I'm not comfortable in a dress, and I definitely did not want roses and a tiara; it just wasn't going to happen. It's me: I have a shaved head, I shop in the boys section, I consider myself borderline transgendered. So if the "excuse me, sir" in the grocery store doesn't bother me, why would this?
After I realized they were talking about me, I went up there and Kara put her arm around me for the cheesy picture. Everybody was yelling. My friends were like, "Yea!" and I got high-fives from a few people; it was pretty cool. There were some people that just stared, and there were some people who were definitely disgusted . . .
The prom thing didn't start out as an activist position or a political statement, it was simply that I wasn't comfortable being a queen, and king fit my gender position better. And who doesn't want to win? Every kid wants that popularity stance and to look back in forty years and say, "I was the Prom King." It wasn't about putting it in anybody's face.
I actually just got a package today in the mail from the woman who help me write the story for Seventeen, and there were like fifteen letters that were sent in to the editor. Fifteen letters of girls saying, "Oh, you know, it was so amazing, and it gave me the courage to come out" or "Only two people at school knew I was gay, and this article made me want to tell ten more."
I recently spoke at Gay Pride in Seattle, which was scary. I've won a scholarship; I've two awards--just things that I never would have gotten in my life without doing all of this. It's a really neat feeling, because you step back and you're like, Wow, I didn't even mean to do that. Like, I got that just for waking up that day and being who I am.