One Equal World

How One High School’s Superlatives are Creating a New Normal

Posted on: June 13, 2013

By now you’ve probably seen the image of two boys standing side by side as a couple, sandwiched between dozens of other photographs on a high school yearbook page. Underneath them a caption reads: Cutest Couple, Dylan Meehan and Brad Taylor.

Dylan Meehan and Brad Taylor were voted "Cutest Couple" in their high school yearbook.

Dylan Meehan and Brad Taylor were voted “Cutest Couple” in their high school yearbook.

These high school seniors achieved overnight fame when one of their friends and classmates posted this yearbook photo of them online. The image went viral within hours, and was reblogged for hundreds of thousands of people to see. The photo shows a young gay couple that appears to be incredibly comfortable with themselves. Obviously, Carmel High School in New York, where they both attend, is comfortable with them too, so much so that their peers voted the boys the “cutest couple,” the very award that led to all of the internet and media attention in the first place.

Taylor and Meehan made history at their high school for being the first same-sex couple to be voted “cutest couple,” and have created a buzz internationally since their photo surfaced on the Internet last week. Now, media and news outlets are incredibly interested in the formerly unknown, average high school couple, begging for interviews about high school, prom, and being part of the LGBT community.

This highly publicized series of events might be nothing more that a nuisance to the boys, with Meehan joking that “our friends are really giving it to us for being Internet famous,” in a statement to the Associated Press. Happily, the couple insists that the teasing they’re receiving for their newfound fame is the only trouble they’ve run into as an openly gay couple, a rarity in American high schools today.

American high school traditions, like awarding superlatives, aren’t always the most inclusive. Though Dylan Meehan and Brad Taylor never intended to impact the LGBT community at large, the image of them proudly embracing in a very public space – a high school yearbook – sends an incredibly hopeful message to other young people just like them. It lends “normalcy” to one facet of high school identities that aren’t always accepted. Carmel High School is raising the bar for creating a safe, inclusive school environment for LGBT teens.

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