Sunday, April 18, 2010

Good for Derrick and Richard

I first apologize for not blogging much in the last day or so, it has been an exhausting time with lots of things to do, and tomorrow will be as well. I'll warn you now, it will be much worse in July, with lots of traveling and the very distinct possibility of not having Internet access due to the remote nature of location and the rather repressive government in that area of the world.

One thing that has been on mind was the fate of Derrick Martin and Richard Goodman, in Cochran, Georgia. You will remember that I reported that Derrick had asked his local high school if he could bring Richard (and don't just call him "the boyfriend") as his date to his senior prom. The school went into a tizzy trying to figure things out and decided the best option was to say yes. But Derrick paid a heavy price for wanting to go to his own prom with Richard. Derrick was thrown out of his home by his parents, he received death threats, and had local fundamentalists organize protests.

Tonight was the night. Just before 8 p.m. Derrick and Richard arrived at the prom. According to the Macon Telegraph, "their names were announced, a few parents whispered but many in the crowd gave him [them] a loud cheer. No one yelled in protest." Perhaps one reason it went so well: "Security was tight with at least 15 officers stationed at the high school, and no one could enter the parking lot without a ticket."

After Derrick was thrown out of home word spread and individuals have donated $5000 to him to help with his living expenses and college tuition.

Derrick said he was simply tired "of being sneaky and hiding things" referring to his dating Richard. "You have to do what you think is right." Richard sprung a surprise on Derrick telling him that his high school prom is coming up and that he was inviting Derrick to join him as his date, at Tifton High School, in another small town in rural Georgia. Derrick responded: "That's your fight."

You know, after all that unpleasant hatred toward immigrants that I saw at the Tea Party recently, I'm so glad to see tolerance win out here. Derrick and Richard head off to university together in the Fall, I wish them the best. Cling to love when you find it, it is often stolen from you when you least expect it.

Photo: Derrick and Richard before the prom. And yes, Derrick is actually quite tall.