Gay students Eric Irazarry and Ariana Reiff were crowned homecoming king and queen last Wednesday at Waukegan High School in Waukegan, Ill.
Irazarry is a competitive cheerleader, while Reiff wants to be a veterinarian someday.
“Ariana and I are both out and open about our sexuality,” Irizarry told the Lake County News-Sun. “Our attitude is we are who we are and if that bothers people, that’s okay, but we have so many friends who accept us for who we are.”
“Winning this makes me feel good, because it shows me that people care for me. They understand who I am, and they’re giving me respect. That makes me happy.”
Reiff added, “There are some people saying we shouldn’t have won, or that we won because we are gay, but I think our classmates chose us because they know us, and they chose us just as people.”
The homecoming king and queen are voted on by the students.
“Students vote for classmates they feel fit whatever personal criteria they have,” said Nicholas Alajakis, parental and public information officer for Waukegan Public Schools.
Irizarry and Reiff appeared as king and queen at Saturday’s homecoming parade, football game and dance.
Last weekend, Ray Ramsey, who was born a female but now lives as a male, was crowned homecoming king at Concord High School in Concord, N.H.
Ramsey, 17, has been asking people to call him “Ray” instead of his birth name of “Rachael” since he started high school.
According to the Concord Monitor, Ramsey is still physically a girl, but plans on undergoing hormone treatments and possible gender reassignment surgery sometime in the future.
Sources: Concord Monitor, Lake County News-Sun