It’s fitting that Keo Chaad O’Neal was a history major, because the college alumnu is already shaping it.

O’Neal says he’s the first frankly trans subject to graduate from Spelman College, America’s firstly private, liberal arts historically pitch-black college for women.

O’Neal shared two smiling snapshots of himself in his graduation regalium on Twitter that subsequently went viral. HuffPost talked to the recent postgraduate about his expedition at Spelman and what it’s like to be a trans follower at an all-women college.

“My experience was up and down, much how I’d expect any college experience would be, ” O’Neal said in an email.

O’Neal said he enjoyed Spelman as a freshman, but he didn’t feel like he could come into himself, so he transferred to a chiefly white-hot institution.

The 21 -year-old had started Spelman determining as non-binary and using they/ them pronouns, but “no one could catch on to that so it was kind of hard to exist as myself, ” O’Neal replied. He added that in its own experience, “black folks certainly only understood the binary.”

It was during the time at the mainly lily-white clas that he “was able to grow and develop” himself the course he wanted to “without the pressures of other black kinfolks telling me I couldn’t do or be something.”

“I came back to Spelman my junior time because although I could flourish in my queerness, I felt like I was affirming my blackness and I was nothing more than a figure to those kinfolks, ” O’Neal said.

Bummah Ndeh Keo Chaad O’Nealin his graduation attire, captured by Morehouse alum Bummah Ndeh.

Getting through junior and elderly times was hard for O’Neal, who said that he received a lot of backlash from “current students, their parents and alum” after he came out during a convocation with writer and partisan Alice Walker, a Spelman alumna who was call as an artist-in-residence.

“Lots of beings believed that because I was trans, I didn’t belong at Spelman but there was nowhere else I “d rather” be, ” he added. “People still have their own rulings of me attending Spelman, but it’s because of Spelman why I am who I am.” The college did not immediately return a request for comment.

O’Neal said there were many who supported his decision to come out, which is only emphasized by the explosion of support from acquaintances, family and working followers on Quaver after his graduation photos disappeared viral.

Odds are high that O’Neal will not be the only openly trans subject to gradute from Spelman.

The school announced in September 2017 that it would revise its admissions and enrollment programme to “consider for admittance maidens students including students who consistently live and self-identify as dames, regardless of their gender assigning at birth.”

“If a woman is declared and transitions to male while a student at Spelman, the College will permit that student to continue their efforts to matriculate at and graduate from Spelman, ” read the letter from the college chairperson about the change.

On what’s next for O’Neal, the South Plainfield, New Jersey, native said that he’s been accepted into a Ph.D. curriculum for this dusk, but is thinking about “taking some time off to work and establish” himself before going back to school.

“Right now, I’m on the number of jobs hunting! Not undoubtedly looking to stay in my major but I unquestionably want to do something I love, ” he told HuffPost.

The graduate wanted to thank his supporters.

“I could not have built it this far without the encouragement of others, ” he spoke. “It absolutely takes a village. For anyone who has played a part in my success, this is a prevail for all of us.”

O’Neal likewise hopes that its own experience will teach others to “never dispense with , no matter what parties tell you.”

“You have to believe in yourself, ” he contributed. “It is so easy to get down and out but it takes a lot of fearlessnes to deter contend and that daring has always been inside of you.”

Cheers to you, Keo. Congratulation!

This piece was updated to include information about Spelman College’s revision to its admissions policy.