With Coming Out Day 2018 having just come and gone, one high school student used the occasion to do something bold.
Alexander Duarte, of Valley High School in Santa Ana, California, had long since come out of the closet to his classmates, including his best friend Erick Pineda. And with Homecoming coinciding with National Coming Out Day, Duarte chose to ask Pineda, captain of the Valley High football team, to go as his date to the Homecoming Dance.
As strains of Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years” played in the background, Duarte staged a full-on production to ask Pineda to the dance. During their lunch hour, Duarte arranged to have Pineda walk down a long corridor full of their fellow students toward a homemade rainbow banner, which read “I know I’m GAY, but can I take you STRAIGHT 2 HOMECOMING?” Duarte then emerged from behind another banner of a painted closet to ask the big question.
“It all started as a joke,” Duarte told Instinct. “One day he said to me, ‘Yo, take me to homecoming!’ so I knew that if I did it I would have to set the bar and be extra…It all started as a joke. One day he said to me, ‘Yo, take me to homecoming!’ so I knew that if I did it I would have to set the bar and be extra.”
Duarte planned the proposal for two weeks, which included construction of the banners and priming Pineda for the question. Fortunately, the effort paid off; Pineda said yes.
“I was definitely excited to be asked to homecoming because I knew how important this was for my friend,” Pineda explained to Instinct. “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 RESPECT for my actions.”
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