Felicia Rivera and Lalani Hernandez, a lesbian couple at a Texas high school, claim their photo was removed from Brennan High School’s school’s Valentine’s—themed page after school officials discovered the photo was of two girls. The photo was to appear with other couples photos, all heterosexual, Pink News reported March 5.
Felicia Rivera and Lalani Hernandez, both 16, say that because Felicia’s face is hidden by her hair it caused ambiguity as her gender. Felicia Rivera claims that a teacher at Brennan High School told her the photo would not be published in the yearbook because it showed a lesbian couple. Rivera also said that the teacher was fine with the found until she found out it was two girls. “It’s not right,” Felicia said.
The principal of Brennan High School denies that the photograph of the girls was pulled because it shows a lesbian couple. The principal alleges that the photo was removed from consideration in the yearbook because Felicia is embracing Lalani in the picture and that is “too graphic a public display of affection.”
A spokesperson for the Northside School district backs up the principal’s statement saying:
“It’s just an intimate picture; there’s no eye contact. They’re both looking down. It looks like a pretty intimate moment.”
Felicia Rivera, who saw the Valentine’s-themed yearbook page, said that there were other PDA images that were not removed.
“I saw the page, and there were other PDA [public displays of affection] that didn’t get pulled. There was a guy’s arm around a girl’s shoulder. Other people were holding hands.”
Felicia Rivera has started a petition to have the photo reinstated, and has already collected 300 signatures. Rivera says she is more concerned about the reasoning behind removing the photo.
“I could really care less now if the photo is in there [the yearbook]. It’s just the reason behind it that upsets me.”
Felix Rivera, Felicia’s father, is very proud of the way his daughter is handling the problem, saying that his daughter has never been a problem and that she is a strong person. When Felix Rivera contacted the school to ask if a photo of his daughter Felicia and Lalani Hernandez looking at the camera could be included, he received no response.
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