Story at a glance:
- Some parents were outraged online and at a school meeting, but the teens, their friends and the school celebrated.
- Warren County is one of the more conservative areas in Ohio.
- The teens are the first queer couple elected as prom king and queen in the district.
Some parents in Kings Mill, Ohio, are upset that two lesbian teenagers were crowned prom king and queen.
When Annie Wise and Riley Loudermilk were elected prom king and queen on April 17, the couple received a wave of support from their friends, the school district and even people around the country — a moment they say they’ll never forget. However, the celebration was not mutual for everyone, as some parents voiced their outrage both online and in a school meeting, NBC News reported.
Kings Mill has a population of about 1,500 people, with around 70 percent of the population identifying as right-leaning conservatives, according to Data USA.
Some parents made statements at a school meeting disparaging the teens and the school.
“Sorry, but I believe that there are still two genders, a male and a female," one parent said. “I think tradition stands for a queen that has a vagina, a king that has a penis and testicles."
Another parent expressed dismay that a teacher who flies a gay pride flag, as well as a Black Lives Matter flag, won't fly the American flag.
Wise and Loudermilk have been friends since the third grade, but the now 18 year olds have been dating for the past six months.
They entered to compete for prom king and queen, knowing their friends would have voted for them, but they were caught off guard when they actually won.
“Usually prom king and queen is like a popularity contest, and neither of us are really on that popularity spectrum,” Loudermilk said.
The two made history in their small town as the first queer couple to be elected as prom king and queen in the school district.
While Loudermilk said she was expecting some negative comments, she and Wise were surprised by how far some adults went.
“I just think it's weird that somebody who's old enough to be my mom is so worried about my genitalia and what's in my pants,” Wise said. “I think that's more concerning than having a gay couple win prom, obviously.”
Kings Local School District congratulated the couple on its Facebook page and posted their photo, which was shared more than 400 times and received 2,000 mostly positive comments.
Overall, the couple says the experience was “amazing” and hope their win helps other LGBTQ+ teens.
“I do hope it kind of just helps people realize that it's OK to come out, and it's also OK to come out at your own pace in your own way,” Loudermilk told NBC. “You will get hate from it, but there's also a really big chance that you're going to get so much love and support, like we did.”
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