A gay teenager asked the straight captain of the high school football team to be his homecoming date, and as LGBTQ classmates and allies cheered and wiped away tears, he said yes.
As Yahoo Lifestyle reports, last Thursday, October 11, was National Coming Out Day (October is LGBTQ History Month). Alexander Duarte, who is gay, wanted to use the occasion to make a statement about inclusivity at Valley High School in Santa Ana, California, where he's a senior.
Duarte, unlike far too many LGBTQ teenagers, is not alone at his high school. The school is inclusive and respectful of gay students, and he counts his classmates and even his teachers as among his allies.
"There are various students who are part of the LGBT community at my school and the students and staff are very supportive. However, I really wanted to show other students that it's OK to be themselves, because one of the main things that hold people back aren't others but ourselves."In order to make a statement, Duarte decided to go big or go home. To that end, he decided the perfect thing to do would be to stage an elaborate scenario wherein he'd ask a straight classmate to be his homecoming date. What's more, he went straight (no pun intended) for the person who, stereotypically anyway, would be the least likely person to be an LGBTQ ally: the captain of the football team.
So with gay classmates and allies all in attendance, Duarte staged his Homecoming proposal (for lack of a better choice of words) so that when he stepped through a door reading "Out Of The Closet," captain Erick Pineda was there to see it. And as Christina Perri's "A Thousand Years" played in the background, Pineda said yes.To be fair, the "proposal" wasn't completely out of the blue. Pineda and Duarte are best friends, so much so that Pineda had even suggested that he (Pineda) would go to Homecoming with Duarte if he (Duarte) couldn't find anyone else.
The impact from Duarte's proposal has gone far and wide. LGBTQ publications such as The Advocate and LGBTQ Nation have written about it. Queer Eye's Bobby Berk tweeted about it.
Duarte says that he hopes the attention he's gotten will inspire other gay teens to live their best lives, and for straight kids to act as allies for their LGBTQ classmates.
"I am really grateful and appreciative over the positive support my proposal has gathered — especially from older folks who have cried over this proposal and said it brought hope for themselves and their children. I have become more appreciative of the road others paved before me."