Miami Marlins

Showing Her Authentic Self: Deerfield Beach Teen Surprised at Marlins Game

The Marlins decided to do something special after seeing a video of 13-year-old Chad Sanford being pushed and shoved to the ground at school

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A transgender teen who thought she was just going to watch the Miami Marlins play instead got quite the surprise.

When the Marlins saw a disturbing video of 13-year-old Chad Sanford being pushed and shoved to the ground in a hallway at Deerfield Beach High, they were moved.

The Marlins felt even more impacted when the kids who were beating her up— shouted homophobic slurs.

“When we heard about Chad’s story, we wanted to make sure we gave her a supportive environment. There really is no place for hate and no place for bullying," said Rocky Egusquiza, VP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Miami Marlins.

Tuesday night, Sanford, a 6th grader, who identifies as a trans teen girl, was not only given the red carpet treatment at the Miami Marlins game, but she was able to experience the rare opportunity as her true self.

“It feels amazing to be out....But it's fun here," she said.

The Marlins hosted Sanford and her family in a VIP suite with LGBTQ community leaders where she did the call out to start the game.

Broward County Public Schools is investigating after cellphone video showed a student at a Deerfield Beach school physically bullying a sixth grader because of her sexuality. NBC 6's Jamie Guirola reports

The evening was a little overwhelming for a teen chastised by other teens for her gender identity.

“It's a lot to take in because by her not being able to express herself fully for who she wants to be, this is a way of showing love to herself exactly as she wants to be seen," said Sanford's uncle, Zerry Miller.

They even let Sanford on the field at the pitcher's mound to color the Marlins logo in rainbow colors, helping affirm her sexual identity.

“We talk to our employees about bring their authentic self to work. So by giving her the opportunity to join us at the ballpark to be her authentic self, we thought that was important and very supportive," Egusquiza said.

The Marlins has a history of committment to the LGBTQ community: Celebrating a virtual event for Pride Month and pride at the park in September.

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