Illinois High School Crowns Gay Homecoming King And Queen

Two close friends at Waukegan High School were crowned homecoming king and queen this weekend. Eric Irazarry and Ariana Reiff, a competitive cheerleader and future veterinarian respectively, also happen to be out gay students. 

WaukeganThe Lake County News Sun reports:

“Ariana and I are both out and open about our sexuality,” Irizarry said. “Our attitude is we are who we are and if that bothers people, that’s OK, but we have so many friends who accept us for who we are.”

“There are some people saying we shouldn’t have won, or that we won because we are gay, but I think our classmates chose us because they know us, and they chose us just as people,” Reiff added.

“Winning this makes me feel good, because it shows me that people care for me,” said Irizarry, who plans to go to college and study business management and marketing. “They understand who I am, and they’re giving me respect. That makes me happy.”

Congratulations to Reiff and Irizarry! 

They follow other LGBT high school students around the country who have been feeling the support of their classmates in such elections. Just yesterday Towleroad reported about a New Hampshire high school's transgender homecoming king. However, while student peers may be piling on the accolades, it is important to remember the bureaucratic and real-world implications of these expanding social boundaries; some students have not been allowed to run, while others have been harassed after winning the crown. Here's hoping that the Waukegan students can keep their heads up and feel proud of their victory.  


  1. Francis #1 says

    These stories are wonderful….but honestly, and it has to be asked, are these LGBT kids winning these awards out of novelty? They have close friends who love and support them, but other students vote for them because it would be shocking or hilarious, etc. Not wanting to be negative but the motives of many of the kids who vote I think are sketchy. Anyone agree? All of that said, it doesn’t take away from the students who won these awards, though, whatsoever.

  2. David From Canada says

    A sign of the times. Young people today are not burdened with all the prejudice, homophobia and otherwise, that the older generation was.
    Congrats to the gay Prom King and Queen. Enjoy!

  3. Francis #1 says

    I’m not implying I know their motives. I do know that in the past kids who have won homecoming king/queen and been LGBT have ended up getting bullied worse AFTER they won than before they won. That’s why I question the motives with SOME of the students….we’re talking about kids. And because anti-LGBT school bullying hasn’t really been an issue that’s lessened in severity. But I’m happy for these youth who have won these homecoming events and I don’t want to be a debbie downer.

  4. Paolo says

    Wow. Great to see a Towleroad post about actual gay people. I was starting to think that this entire blog had become about transsexuals and transvestites.

  5. Deirdre says

    What I esp. love about this story is that the lesbian is quite properly crowned as queen and the gay boy is properly crowned as king. If this had been a joke or a malicious prank, it would have been reversed.

    These kids are respected by their peers for what they are and are not subjected to the offensive notion that being lesbian or gay means that you are contrary to your gender.

    Good for both of them and I wish them an excellent homecoming!

  6. Bradford says

    Honestly, the fact that a gay kid won homecoming king doesn’t surprise me as much as the fact that a fat kid won homecoming king. Not being disrespectful at all, but these are as much beauty/popularity contests as anything, and fat people don’t usually win those things.

  7. Katherine says

    I live in Waukegan. I graduated from this high school and my son graduated from there 28 years later. These kids were elected because they’re popular and well-liked, not out of some weird Carrie-style bullying scam.

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