Eric Irizarry is a competitive cheerleader and lifeguard; one of his friends, Ariana Reiff wants to become a veterinarian.
Kinda normal, no?
Well, Eric and Ariana are the newly crowned Waukegan High School homecoming king and queen.
“I really didn’t think I was going to get it because of the way I dress and the way I am,” Reiff said. “I’m not girly.”—Ariana Reiff
They are not what anyone would call the ‘usual’ Homecoming king and queen though; you know, the athlete and the head cheerleader type. They are not part of the popular kids at school.
They’re just normal, though.
But, Eric Irizarry and Ariana Reiff are normal, and they both happen to be gay.
“Ariana and I are both out and open about our sexuality. Our attitude is we are who we are and if that bothers people, that’s OK, but we have so many friends who accept us for who we are.”—Eric Irizarry
And they seem to be rather widely accepted for who they are, and rather well-liked, too, it appears. According to Nicholas Alajakis, the parental and public information officer for Waukegan Public Schools, the homecoming king and queen are chosen strictly by the number of student votes they receive, with the provision that they are in good academic and behavioral standing.
So, it’s kind of a popularity contest and this time the two most popular kids are gay,
When asked what it says about the students voting a gay and lesbian classmate as their Homecoming king and queen, Steven Hamlin, director of Waukegan High School’s Washington campus said the question is something adults are more likely to contemplate than teenagers: “Our students are very accepting of each other’s differences in a great variety of ways.”
Isn’t it funny that, for those students, the idea of a gay and lesbian Homecoming king and queen was really no big deal? Wouldn’t it be something if they’re parents, and other parents, and adults, could learn that same lesson.
Enjoy the dance.