A lesbian couple has become teen royalty at an Ohio high school.
Annie Wise and her girlfriend Riley Loudermilk, both 18, were elected prom king and queen, respectively, by the senior class of Kings High School in Kings Mills, Ohio.
The congratulatory announcement was shared by the school district's Facebook page April 17. The post went viral; it has received nearly 5,000 likes, over 2,000 comments, and nearly 500 shares at the time of this article's publication.
Wise and Loudermilk have known each other since third grade and have dated for six months, reports NBC News. They were surprised to be selected for their titles, as the election of the prom king and queen is usually a "popularity contest," Loudermilk told the outlet.
“It was so cool — it was like loud screaming, lots of tears,” Wise recounted of the surprise announcement, adding, “My crown fell off and it broke. There was a lot going on, but it’s something I’ll never forget. It was amazing.”
Wise and Loudermilk are the first same-sex couple to receive this honor in the history of Kings High School.
Most of the comments on the Facebook post were celebratory about the groundbreaking win. "Congratulations to the King and Queen! You are loved," wrote Misty Watson. "I'm so incredibly proud of the generation behind us, who is showing love and acceptance for all people. It gives me so much hope for my daughter and the future generations."
However, the coronation sparked controversy at a recent school board meeting, reports WLWT, a local NBC affiliate. "Sorry, but I believe that there are still two genders, a male and a female," one parent said. "It made me mad that adults were commenting on a high school dance," said Traci Loudermilk, Riley's mother.
A Kings Local School District representative reminded parents that selection of the prom king and queen is a "voted-on initiative" by the senior class. But Jen Kirby, Annie Wise's mother, lamented the negative feedback.
"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," Kirby said.