For Some, Coming Out At School Easier Than Home Forty years ago, the Stonewall Riots ushered in a new era of gay rights. Victoria Cruz and her partner, Deoine, who are graduating Friday from high school in the South Bronx, show how much has changed since then. They were voted best couple for the class yearbook.
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For Some, Coming Out At School Easier Than Home

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For Some, Coming Out At School Easier Than Home

For Some, Coming Out At School Easier Than Home

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I'm Melissa Block.

When students at a public high school in the South Bronx voted for best couple, they did not make a stereo typical choice. From member station WNYC in New York, 17 year old radio rookie Victoria Cruz has this personal account of how she and her girlfriend quietly made school history, just don't tell her grandmother.

DEOINE: All right give (unintelligible) watch your quick move.

VICTORIA CRUZ: When my girlfriend comes over we have to act like friends.

DEOINE: …oh that's when you all ran between the two…

CRUZ: Yeah. I am scared to tell my grandmother because she judges other gay people in our family like ill, why does she does like that, why does she have a girlfriend. But Deoine and I go together like Mac and Cheese.

DEOINE: The first time I saw Vickie it was on a Web site called Sconex and I thought she was pretty, then I used to call her my favorite Puerto Rican girl.

CRUZ: I thought she was pretty too. But I just didn't like the way she acted with her friends, showing off, flirting and talking about boys, oh. Then one day in math, she told me that she liked me. I was shocked but happy. We started to going out after a few weeks and now two years and five months later, we're still together.

DEOINE: I never thought love exists before because with like my parents, you know, my father just like, you know, got my mother pregnant and left. And then like all the guys that my mother ever loved, they just like dissed her.

CRUZ: Yeah. I always thought love was fake. That people who just be together because they are bored, like my mother and my father, who are not together, and like all other couples at my school.

MAEBA(ph): You know, on and off for her, you know, you have this solid relationship which means that you are - you have the strong bond with her.

CRUZ: Maeba, is the editor of the yearbook. Last year, she kept bugging me like, you and Deoine used to be best couple of the class.

MAEBA: You guys are the definition of relationship: support, love, care. These other relationships at school there just, like, what is that word, (unintelligible) a fling maybe?

CRUZ: I wanted to win best couple but I didn't know how people would react. I thought they would discriminate. But Deoine and Maeba went around to every class telling them to vote for us. When the papers came out for people to vote, it said: best couple, pick a boy and a girl. Deoine asked if I voted and I said no. But then I was thinking about President Obama and I told myself one vote can make a difference. So, I scratched out boy and I put girl.

MAEBA: Let me tell you something, you did not win like by two points, you won by a lot.

CRUZ: When we found out I was like oh. Now there's a picture of us in the year book with the best dressed, funniest, most popular and so on. But I'm not getting a yearbook because I'm broke. Oh, I have to remind Deoine not to show her yearbook to my grandmother.

DEOINE: Well, I just got dressed. Tucking the stomach doesn't hurt.

CRUZ: I'm waiting for Deoine to come home. So, we can get in a cab together for prom. I'm wearing a silver dress with silver heels and my hair down.

Unidentified Woman #1: (unintelligible)

CRUZ: I asked my grandmother, if I look pretty and she says yes.

Unidentified Woman #1: (Foreign language spoken) beautiful.

Unidentified Person: Woo hoo.

Unidentified Woman #1: Sexy.

CRUZ: I plan to tell my grandmother I'm gay when I'm older. So, I don't have to hide anymore and we can be closer.

DEOINE: Oh my God, them heels is killing me (foreign language spoken).

CRUZ: But for now I'm still hoping she doesn't realize Deoine is my date when she shows up in a white and silver dress with silver heels and a silver rose in her hair.

DEOINE: (unintelligible) eye shadow.

CRUZ: Deoine helps me with my make up and then the cab arrives.

(Soundbite of phone ring)

Unidentified Woman #1: (unintelligible)

(Soundbite of song)

Unidentified Man: (Singing) think of all the times I see…

CRUZ: I had a great time slow dancing with Deoine and acted stupid with my friends at prom.

DEOINE: They used to watch like a lot of shows. All the movies where like at the end the girl gets the guy and then they live happily ever after. I always thought remember that summer. That'll never happen to me but it wasn't a guy that I got a (unintelligible).

(Soundbite of laughter)

CRUZ: Teachers, classmates and people outside tell us we're perfect, but we're not. We go through the same mistakes other relationships, go through: disagreements, a lot of those oh my God, we are both stubborn and we have broken up a couple of times. But we are still staying close and next year we're both going to college in New York. Hopefully this love lasts forever.

DEOINE: I love you.

CRUZ: Oh wait. One, two, three.

CRUZ and DEOINE: I love you.

For NPR News, I'm Victoria Cruz in New York.

BLOCK: Victoria and her girlfriend Deoine graduated from high school today. Our story was produced by Radio Rookies, a program at member station WNYC, that teaches teenagers to tell their stories for the radio.

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