A San Antonio, Texas high school is facing charges of anti-gay discrimination after deciding to censor a photo of a lesbian couple from its yearbook’s Valentine’s Day tribute. The image, above, shows sixteen-year-old Felicia Rivera and her girlfriend, Lialani Hernandez, 17, in a seated embrace that is hardly controversial. One school official claims the photo was rejected because the teens’ eyes are not pointed at the camera, and because the school considers the two’s embrace an act of PDA, which is not allowed at the school.
But Rivera says the photo was approved until a student told administrators the image was of a lesbian couple. Then, she says, it was removed.
“Rivera’s father, Felix, encourages his daughter to be herself and he’s behind her 100 percent as she tries to have the photo reinstated,” local TV station KENS5 reports:
Felicia has gathered about 200 student signatures calling for the photo to be placed in the yearbook.
“They were fine with it until they realized it was girl-girl,” Felix Rivera said. “It got placed, it got set and it was going to print and then it got pulled.”
Administrators in the Northside ISD said several leaders reviewed the photo and determined it was a little too intimate and violated the student handbook policy regarding public display of affection.
“All children are welcomed in Northside schools,” said Pascual Gonzalez, director of public information. “We make no judgment about students’ sexual orientation or anything else like that. All students are welcome.”
Felicia and her partner plan to start an equality club at Brennan High School. She also said the photographer who snapped the controversial photo was removed from the yearbook staff, although it was not clear whether the photo led to his removal.
San Antonio Express-News adds:
On Wednesday, Rivera met with Brennan’s principal, Gerardo Marquez, to discuss his daughter’s concerns, and said that he’ll buy the school’s yearbook when it gets published at the end of the semester and will go through it “page by page” to make sure there are no heterosexual couples depicted in a similar way.
“I would be perfectly fine with this,” he said, “if you can show me a picture of another gay couple somewhere in the book.”
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.