Gay teens find Internet fame, acceptance
CARMEL, N.Y. — High school students designated the “cutest couple” in their yearbook’s senior superlatives, sparking international attention for the gay teens, are basking in the whirlwind of publicity they have received.
Hours away from their senior prom Monday, Carmel High School students Bradley Taylor and Dylan Meehan donned tuxedos with coordinating blue and silver vests and ties, living up to their newfound class designation.
“It’s been insane,” said Taylor, 17. “We are very, very proud to show that Carmel High School is the way it is.”
Meehan agreed. The support and attention, he said, have been inspiring.
Their best friend, Chelsea Blaney is responsible for their Internet fame. After she posted a picture Friday of the two on her Tumblr blog, saying they won cutest couple, she went from 15 likes to 7,000 in minutes, she recalled.
Her blog and Taylor and Meehan’s picture have since been shared online more than 100,000 times. Taylor said he soon got a message from his cousin in Pennsylvania saying they were “Tumblr famous.” Other messages have poured in from around the world.
“I got comments from ‘They’re cute’ to ‘This has inspired me to come out to my parents,’ ” said Blaney, 18. “It’s mind-blowing.”
The experience has prompted Blaney to campaign on social media for her friends to appear on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show.
No word yet from the talk show host who has advocated for gay teens, pausing from her jokes to address the issues of bullying and suicides among that population and to lobby for tolerance.
Taylor and Meehan have been together since last June, after they were introduced by a friend and then went on a tour of Brown University together.
The two came out to their family and friends a week later.
Both agreed they have received nothing but love and support from everyone, allowing them to feel comfortable at home and school about being openly gay. There are only a handful of gay couples at Carmel High, they said, and most are girls.
“No one treats us any differently from straight couples,” Meehan said.
Taylor added that no one has ever said anything negative to their faces about their relationship.
“We’re both six-foot something,” he said. “What are they going to say?”
Taylor’s father, Robert Taylor, said he doesn’t understand all the attention this has spawned.
“I don’t know why there’s such a big deal being made about this,” he said. “In this day and age, it’s normal.”
Perhaps, but there are still schools in the nation banning same-sex partners from attending proms together and from being open about their relationships.
On Facebook, several Carmel High School alumni expressed both surprise and support for the “cutest couple,” with some saying their alma mater has come a long way.
“It’s terrific. It was totally unplanned, which is the best,” said Chelsea Blaney’s mother, Donna, of the attention. “Brad and Dylan are just sweethearts.”
In the fall, Meehan and Taylor are headed to New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where they expect to study theater, business and the sciences. Both have 4.0 grade-point averages and have received scholarships to attend NYU.
But for now, they are relishing being Internet sensations, an added bonus to their prom celebration, Taylor and Meehan said.
“The support people are giving us and people yelling out ‘You’re famous’ makes it so exciting,” Meehan said.
“It makes us so excited to go to the ball because we know so many people are accepting of us,” Taylor added.
This article was reposted from USAToday
Originally posted 2013-06-04 11:53:04.