The applause echoed across the room. Cheers erupted from gussied-up students. And a few whispers were exchanged in the background as a 17-year-old boy stepped up to accept his crown at Danbury High School’s prom in Danbury, Conn., last week.

But Nasir Fleming wasn’t being crowned the school’s prom king — he was being crowned queen. Although he was nominated for both, he accepted only one. Here’s why.

The senior told the News Times he is gay and has been out since the sixth grade. And because of his sexual orientation, he has battled bullying for much of his life.

When he found out he had been nominated for both prom king and queen, he saw an opportunity to make a point about the toxicity of gender labeling and discrimination. That’s why he decided to accept the nomination for prom queen. Although he admitted he wasn’t sure if the nomination for queen was meant to be a joke, it didn’t matter.

“Either way, I’m still fabulous,” he told the newspaper.

The video, capturing the moment Fleming was crowned, was posted on his YouTube page and drew close to 40,000 views in the past few days. His caption states:

Even though I identify as male, winning this title is a statement against transphobia. As gay people, more or less, are becoming accepted in society, transgendered people are still discriminated against severely. If I can win a title that is outside of my gender, there is no reason why a trans-person should have any problems winning titles in his/her gender. Stop the hate, start the love.

Unsurprisingly, his decision to run for prom queen instead of king sparked debate in comments beneath the clip — many supporting his statement, others condemning it.

Fleming told the News Times he is not shocked by the negative comments. In fact, he said, he was expecting some fallout when he posted the video last week.

“I love controversy,” he told the newspaper. “It’s what keeps the world spinning around.”

Fleming plans to attend Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y., this fall and major in communication. His goal is to host his own talk show, according to the News Times.

Danbury High principal Gary Bocaccio said students can nominate anyone for king or queen. He said he didn’t know if Fleming was the school’s first male prom queen.