A lesbian couple at an Ohio high school said they never expected to be voted as prom king and queen, but that’s what happened last month.
Annie Wise and Riley Loudermilk, both 18, have been dating for six months. They were voted prom king and queen at Kings High School in Kings Mill, Ohio, on April 17.
They told CNN that they believe this is the first time an LGBTQ couple has been crowned prom king and queen in this district.
“I didn’t think that we would’ve won because prom king and queen just seemed like a popularity thing,” Loudermilk said. “It was definitely so exciting to know we had so many people who had supported us.”
“It was super overwhelming,” Wise said. “It was the best feeling in the world, definitely something I’ll never forget.”
The teens said overall their school has been supportive of them being a lesbian couple, which they said was surprising in a conservative area such as Warren County, where the school is located. But not everyone was happy.
Some parents at a school board meeting the week following Kings High School’s prom gave heated statements about the prom court, CNN affiliate WLWT reports.
But the mothers of the two girls told the affiliate they were proud of their daughters for breaking the barrier.
“Some people, you’re never going to change their mind. And you know what? That’s OK too. People are allowed to believe and feel what they believe and feel,” Wise’s mother, Jen Kirby, said.
Loudermilk told CNN most of the negativity she and Wise have encountered came from comments on the Kings Local School District’s Facebook post announcing that they won. They said it’s mostly been from adults they don’t know and who don’t live in their district. The school has been working to delete the negative comments, but there are “so many comments still flowing in every day,” Loudermilk said.
Overall, Wise said, the people who support her and Loudermilk outweigh those who don’t. She said she’s already seeing a positive impact from her and Loudermilk breaking a barrier.
“Some people are saying that they’re proud that their kids go to such an accepting school,” Wise said. “There are some students that have told me that they’re comfortable being gay at Kings and they’re more comfortable with themselves now that they feel they have an accepting and supportive student body behind them.”