Lesbian teens Lily Cohen and Greta Melendez made headlines this week when their high school peers voted the couple homecoming queens.
Officials at Calabasas High School in Los Angeles announced Nov. 2 that Melendez, president of the school's Gay-Straight Alliance, and her girlfriend Cohen had won the titles.
“I was just shocked because it’s just amazing to see how much our school has changed in the past four years,” Melendez told The Los Angeles Times. “When I was a freshman, we wouldn’t have gotten that reaction. I went through a lot of bullying.”
This homecoming season has provided a number of high-visibility victories for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. Two women were also crowned homecoming queens at their Texas high school in late October, though only one identified as gay and the other a straight ally.
Shortly prior to this, Steven Sanchez became the first gender queer student to win the Homecoming Queen title at the University of Northern Iowa to the sound of thunderous applause from the university community. Ray Ramsey, a transgender male high school student, won the title of Homecoming King at his New Hampshire high school by a "landslide" victory earlier in the same month.
Additionally, 16-year-old Cassidy Lynn Campbell made history as her high school's Homecoming Queen in late September, but then quickly became the target of online bullying and harassment. She went on to take a stand against LGBT bullying by posing for the NOH8 campaign.
“We think the reason that we were picked to win is because, usually the Homecoming King and Queen are the most popular in their group of friends," Melendez stated about her and Cohen's victory. "Whereas we are friends with all the little groups of people, and they’ve never had a voice. They’ve never had someone to vote for.”