Hop Against Homophobia – Meet Derek and Ty

I wasn’t planning to do another Hop post. I’ll be perfectly honest with you: although I have a blog, I’m not what you’d actually call a blogger. I love to talk about the books I read, but otherwise, I’m really pretty boring. :) Yet here I am, blogging again, and all because I was inspired by a picture.

First of all, I want you to know that I was given clearance to post this photo. Derek and Ty are minors, and if I hadn’t gotten Derek’s permission to use it, these boys wouldn’t be here representing today.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll talk about why they’re here. I talked very briefly in This Post about how fortunate my kids are to be a part of a school system that supports and values the diversity of our children, to be part of an education system that believes its schools should be a safe place where children can focus on learning rather than worrying about the way they’ll be treated or if they’ll be accepted.

My daughter brought her yearbook home a couple of days ago, so we sat on the couch together and looked through the pictures. Her school is massive and I don’t know 99% of the kids who go there, but it’s still fun to sit down and share with her the things that are important to her. When we got to page forty-one in the book, we stopped and looked for a bit. It was a double-truck titled “For the Long Run” and featured photos of couples who’ve been together for a while. I looked. And looking back at me was this picture of Derek and Ty, who’ve been dating since March 27, 2011. For the long run. What makes this photograph so remarkable isn’t that Derek and Ty have been together for more than a year. No, what makes it so remarkable is that there was no reluctance at all from the yearbook staff or the school to acknowledge that relationship, to show that it is a real and lasting connection.

There’s a quote from another student, discussing how he and his boyfriend met through a mutual friend, and while Justin initially wanted to be just friends, he finally asked Josh out, and now they’ve been a couple for more than a year, as well. For the long run.

Is this an anomaly? Are there other schools out there willing to stand up against those who might cry “Foul!” and use intolerance to try and suppress the concept that love is not something that can be compartmentalized into a tidy little cubicle of right and wrong to suit a person’s belief system? I don’t know. Maybe we’re just terribly, terribly fortunate. For that, I feel so blessed.

I’d be interested to hear if this picture caused any red flags to go up from parents in our community, because all I see when I look at it is the beauty of a couple who’re in love.

When my daughter asked Derek if he minded that I talk about him and Ty, she said he got very excited when he found out why. He told my daughter, “Tell your mom thanks for not being a hater.”

How can there ever be hate in the presence of love?


7 thoughts on “Hop Against Homophobia – Meet Derek and Ty

  1. Jay Ross says:

    And that’s the way it should be everywhere! I think you live in that ultra conservitive state of Indiana (almost as bad as here in Ohio), but this is good. Thank you school and thank you Derek and Ty. We need more brave people like the two of you – my hero’s of the day.


  2. Thank tPTB that there are really places like this. When there’s so much state-sanctioned hate and discrimination right out in the open, it’s really nice to know that the generations coming up behind us outnumber the dinosaurs currently making policy and it’s only a matter of time. The fact that Derek still felt the need to thank you for not hating says that we’re still not there, but damn it, I have to believe we’ll get there, and it’ll be kids like Derek and Ty and the peers who look at them and see just another couple who will get us there.

    Thanks for this post, Lisa. It gave me the warm-fuzzies. <3


  3. ::hugs Jay and Carole::

    I so agree with both of you. I think the reason I still have this Twilight Zone feeling about it is because Indiana is such an ultra-conservative state, and I know that in spite of the efforts of our schools, there are still people in my community who will be…let’s just say, uncomfortable…with this beautiful photo.

    Here’s where I see this as a win. I was talking with Rachel (my daughter) this morning and she was telling me that one of the many things she loves about Derek, other than the fact that he’s such a great guy, is that he just is who he is, whether it’s with teachers or other students. There’s never a moment when he tries to be someone he’s not. His attitude is this: he knows he can’t stop people from hating who he is, so he doesn’t try. His best defense against the people who judge him for who he loves is to just keep loving harder. That’s how he keeps the haters from winning.

    I think I loved him just a little bit harder myself when Rachel shared that with me. :)


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