To the tune of Christina Perri's "A Thousand Years," a gay student at Valley High School in Santa Ana, Calif. asked his friend, the straight captain of the football team, to homecoming on National Coming Out Day. His friend said "yes" in order to "set an example" for the school and the community, according to Instinct.
Standing behind a banner that read "I know I am gay but can I take you straight to homecoming," the gay student, Alexander Duarte, watched his friend Erick Pineda walk a gauntlet of cheering students toward him before Pineda agreed to be his date.
Earlier in the year, Pineda told Duarte, "Yo, take me to homecoming." That's when Duarte knew he would have to step up the proposal.
For Pineda, saying "yes" to his friend meant stamping out stigma around friendships between straight and gay men.
"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," Pineda. "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 'RESPECT' for my actions," he added.
The two men, both 17, have come a long way since freshmen year when Pineda treated Duarte in a way he later apologized for, Duarte told Instinct. After agreeing to be Duarte's date, Pineda reassured his friend that he had his back.
"He [Pineda] also said that he loved me and that he will always be there for me if needed," Duarte said.