PORTAGE, Ind. -- Senior prom can be an exciting and memorable time for a teenager. And it's especially true for one teen in northwest Indiana, who is unlikely hero for some.
18-year-old Dakota is one of four finalists running for prom queen at Portage High School.
Dakota is a transgender teenager, born physically a boy but has always been a girl inside. And for her senior year, she has lived her true self, with the support of family and friends.
“They're so proud of me. They tell me ‘Dakota, I love you. I'm so proud of you.’”
“I want to give everyone a hug and a kiss for being so supportive towards me,” Dakota says. “It's overwhelming.”
Prom is Saturday and Dakota says she is nervous. But whether she wins the crown or not is not the most important thing. She wants others to know, they're not alone.
“I just want to be that positive influence in their life and they say ‘Hey, she can do this, I can do this too.’ I'm not going to let anyone discourage me from being who I am."