Gay teen asks his straight friend to homecoming, and it’s super emotional
A gay teen’s homecoming proposal to his straight best friend has gone viral for all the right reasons.
17-year-old Alexander Duarte, who attends Valley High School in Santa Ana, California, worked for weeks on a plan to ask his straight friend Erick Pineda to the dance. His efforts culminated on October 11 which, coincidentally, was National Coming Out Day.
Pineda, who is captain of the football team, was surprised by the crowd of students and teachers that gathered during his lunch break, cheering his name while Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years” played.
Along his path, a giant, colourful sign read: “I know I’m GAY but can I take you STRAIGHT 2 HOMECOMING?”
Duarte then came forward to reveal himself as the author of the proposal as Pineda looked thrilled, eagerly accepting and hugging his friend.
“I Had To Go All Out,” Duarte wrote in the caption of the Instagram video immortalising the moment.
Speaking to Instinct Magazine, Pineda explained: “It’s very important for me to be going to Homecoming with Alexander because I’m setting an example for not only my school, but also my community.
“I was definitely excited to be asked to homecoming because I knew how important this was for my friend and seeing the support from the staff and students was amazing.
“I’m very grateful to be the captain of the football team. The team is very supportive and multiple teammates have approached me to congratulate me and have given me R-E-S-P-E-C-T for my actions,” he said.
Duarte told Instinct: “It was really important because I have never had a date to a dance and this is my senior year so something clicked inside and inspired me to actually ‘ask Erick’.
“For me it was also about setting an example for others on how to go all out on their proposals and, more importantly, that it is OK for a brown boy to ask another dude.”
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He added: “It took one week of brainstorming and two weeks of working on it. It took approximately 20 minutes to set up.
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“The big poster took two hours to complete small poster an hour. It was a bit hectic because I am part of the Associative Student Body and we had a meeting prior to lunch on the day of the proposal.”
The teen continued: “People were nervous for me and I was nervous behind that poster.
“When I stepped out I didn’t expect so many people to be there. When all was done there was so much support from everyone and it was truly a wonderful experience.”
The proposal is the latest example of shifting attitudes to heteronormative traditions of homecoming events. Earlier this month, a lesbian couple in Texas succeeded in getting their high school to put on a gender-neutral homecoming and in September, a gay student in Iowa was crowned homecoming king after being target of homophobic abuse and threats.