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High school student says banned yearbook photo is anti-gay discrimination

Wednesday, March 6, 2013
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A teenager in San Antonio, Texas, says her high school has blocked a photograph of her and her girlfriend from appearing in the yearbook because they are gay.

Felicia Rivera, 16, said a photo depicting her embracing her girlfriend, Lialani Hernandez, 17, was pulled from the Brennan High School yearbook after the school’s yearbook supervisor, Amey Graybeal, discovered that the photo was of two girls.

The photo at the center of the controversy (above) features Lialani Hernandez (left) and Felicia Rivera.

Felicia said the photo didn’t raise any eyebrows — until Graybeal realized it featured Felicia and her girlfriend. Rivera’s face in the picture (above) is obscured by her hair.

“The teacher was perfectly fine with the picture until she found out it was two girls,” she said. “It’s not right.”

The photo was selected for the Valentine’s Day page that featured photos of six other straight couples; Felicia said she was first told the picture was being pulled because it showed a gay couple.

But, she said, the school’s principal, Gerardo Marquez, later denied that explanation and said the image was yanked because the picture showed “too much PDA.”

Pascual Gonzalez, a spokesman for the school district, said that it’s the photo itself, not the couple, that violates the school’s code of conduct.

Felicia has gathered about 200 student signatures calling for the photo to be placed back in the yearbook.

Felicia’s father, Felix Rivera’s met with Marquez on Wednesday to discuss his daughter’s presence in the yearbook. He said he plans to go through the yearbook “page by page” to make sure there are no heterosexual couples depicted in a similar way.

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