Ohio high-schoolers elect lesbian couple, 18, as prom king and queen, angry parents say duo 'needs Jesus'
Parents in a small Ohio town have expressed their displeasure with a high school after students elected a lesbian couple as senior prom king and queen.
On April 17, Annie Wise was crowned Prom Queen, and her girlfriend Riley Loudermilk was crowned Prom King, in a student vote at Kings High School in Kings Mills, Ohio, a deeply conservative town. However, some parents were dissatisfied with their children's option and expressed their displeasure at a tense school meeting as well as on social media.
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Congrats Riley Loudermilk and Annie Wise... 2021 KHS Prom Queen and King pic.twitter.com/gS1Y2hECm2— Kings High School (@Kings_HS) April 18, 2021
The meeting took place a week after the prom, which took place in a school district about 26 miles northeast of Cincinnati, the Daily Mail reported. Parents spoke out at a Kings Local School District board meeting, expressing their displeasure with some of the district's teachings, as well as this year's prom court, and expressed starkly contrasting views.
"Sorry but, I believe that there are still two genders, a male and a female," one parent was quoted by the WLWT as saying. "I think tradition stands for a queen that has a vagina, a king that has a penis and testicles. Period. That's the way it should stand. that is the way God has intended it to be," they added.
Another parent, who was supportive of the decision, said: "I admire this generation for their thirst of knowledge and understanding, their strength to stand up for what they believe in." "It made me mad that adults were commenting on a high school dance," said Traci Loudermilk, whose daughter was voted prom queen.
The majority of the negative feedback Loudermilk told CNN that she and Wise have received has come from comments on the Kings Local School District's Facebook post announcing their victory. Many of them said the couple “needs Jesus.” "It's been brought to my attention that at least one teacher who flies not only the BLM flag, but also a gay pride flag, refuses to fly the American flag," one parent said, according to WLWT.
The post shared a picture of the couple and read: "Congratulations to Kings High School 2021 Prom King and Queen, Annie Wise and Riley Loudermilk! #KingsStrong". Most of the negative comments, they said, were from people who weren't from the area or didn't know them and the school has been working to delete "so many comments still flowing in every day," Loudermilk said.
Who are Annie Wise and Riley Loudermilk?
Eighteen-year-olds Riley Loudermilk and Annie Wise have known each other since third grade and have been dating for six months. They were aware that their peers were voting for them for prom court at Kings High School in Kings Mills, Ohio, but they didn't believe they stood a chance, NBC reported. The duo told CNN that they believe this is the first time in this district that an LGBTQ couple has been named prom king and queen.
"I didn't think that we would've won because prom king and queen just seemed like a popularity thing," Loudermilk said to the news outlet. "It was definitely so exciting to know we had so many people who had supported us." Loudermilk told NBC that generally, prom king and queen "is like a popularity contest, and neither of us are really on that popularity spectrum."
Wise concurred, saying it was "super overwhelming". "My crown fell off and it broke. There was a lot going on, but it’s something I’ll never forget. It was amazing." “It was so cool — it was like loud screaming, lots of tears,” she said to NBC.
The teens added that overall, their school has been supportive of them being a lesbian couple, a surprising fact considering they were in a conservative area such as Warren County. Wise and Loudermilk are the first queer couple to be elected prom king and queen in the Kings Local School District, NBC reported.