Lesbian Student Named Homecoming King at High School in San Diego

Her girlfriend finds out tonight whether she will be homecoming queen.

ByABC News
October 29, 2011, 5:34 PM

Oct. 29, 2011 — -- The traditionally male honor of high school homecoming king was given to a lesbian student in San Diego, Calif., and if her girlfriend wins homecoming queen, they will be the first lesbian homecoming royal couple in the United States.

Rebeca Arellano, a senior at Patrick Henry High School, was made the school's first female homecoming king when her name was announced Friday at a pep rally.

"They were chanting my name and it was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had," said Arellano, a senior at Patrick Henry High School.

Arellano's girlfriend, Haileigh Adams, who also attends Patrick Henry High School, was nominated for homecoming queen. The winner will be announced at tonight's dance.

The two girls told ABC News that they're thankful for the abundance of support they've received from family, friends, and students and staff at the school.

Arellano said one of her teachers told her, "Today school is a bit better because of you girls."

Arellano's Facebook wall is covered with congratulatory notes from her friends.

"Thank you all for allowing this change to happen," Arellano posted on Facebook.

Adams said they have received negative feedback as well.

"We have a lot of support, but there are also a lot of people who are angry about it," she said. "Anonymous Patrick Henry students are saying they're embarrassed and that it's wrong for a girl to take the spot of king. But there's no other way for us to run as a couple. It's not really fair for us not to have the right to run as a couple."

Arellano posted a statement to those who opposed her on her Facebook wall that read: "For all the girls who think tradition should be continued, go back to the kitchen, stop having sex before you're married, get out of school and job system, don't have an opinion, don't own any property, give up the right to marry who you love, don't vote, and allow your husband to do whatever he pleases to you. Think about the meaning of tradition when you use it in your argument against us."

Adams and Arellano both came out their freshman year of high school, and they began dating in February of their sophomore year. They say their parents were supportive both when they came out and when they started dating.

Gay and lesbian alumni of the school have also voiced their support for the couple.

"Patrick Henry [High School] has always sort of been a little ahead of the curve, but I could not imagine this happening then," 1998 graduate Ben Cartwright, an LGBT rights activist, told ABC News affiliate 10 News.

Cartwright said he kept his sexual preference a secret while in high school.

"You're afraid that you'll lose friends, you're afraid you'll be rejected, you're afraid you'll be outcast," he said. "I went to homecoming dance with a girl, and I also went to prom with a girl when I actually had a boyfriend who was very angry with me that I did not take him, but I just did not feel comfortable. I was not ready to take that step, so I think it's incredible that these two ladies are going to be able to just go to homecoming and enjoy each other and be happy."

Adams said she's received similar feedback from other alumni.

"We feel like we're actually making a difference and making people feel proud of change," she said. "The support is keeping us from feeling too hurt about the negative feedback. The support is what really matters and it is what's going to help us move forward."