Bleckley County High School senior Derrick Martin made history Saturday when he arrived at his high school prom on the arm of another boy. He was the first in his hometown of Cochran — and perhaps in Georgia — to ask permission to take a same sex partner to prom and have his school allow it.
Reports the Macon Telegraph:
When Martin, 18, and his boyfriend Richard Goodman, also 18, stepped onto a makeshift “red carpet” and their names were announced, a few parents whispered but many in the crowd gave him a loud cheer. No one yelled out in protest.
“I wonder if they realize what they’ve done,” said Arturro Beeche, a San Francisco professor who flew into Georgia on Friday and drove Martin and Goodman to the prom. “Once it happens in small-town America, it will inspire so many,” he said.
Security was tight with at least 15 officers stationed at the high school, and no one could enter the parking lot without a ticket.
Last month, news that Martin won the approval of his school to take his boyfriend to the prom, prompted an outpouring of support and some criticism, even at home.
In the weeks that followed, Martin faced mixed reaction from his community, from being kicked out of his parent’s home, to being the subject of death threats and a student protest.
Never Miss a Beat
Subscribe to our daily newsletter to stay ahead of the latest LGBTQ+ political news and insights.
But that did not deter Martin from his plans to attend his prom with Goodman as his date.
“You have to do what you think is right,” Martin said last Friday while he and Goodman picked up their matching black and white tuxedos. “I was tired of being sneaky and hiding things.”
Next stop for the couple: Goodman’s May 8 prom at Tift County High School in Tifton, GA.