A young gay couple from the South African City of Pretoria have become internet stars after their Final School Dance photo has gone viral.
Joshua Harper and Ryan Nortje, attending their special night at Pretoria Boys High was sent in by one of the boys’ mums to a local radio station and was chosen as one of the special moments of the week.
The image of the handsome couple was also posted on the station’s Facebook page which has had huge numbers of views and lots of comments mostly positive.
“These two attended the matric dance at Pretoria High School for Boys as a same-sex couple,” wrote the station.
“According to one of the boys’ moms, this was the first time this was allowed in the history of the school.”
Joshua spoke with Mambaonlie and said that although he and Ryan were the first same-sex couple to attend the school’s matric dance, the principal never had an issue with same-sex couples and permission has never been needed.
“The reason why we did this was because we were breaking the stigma that Boys High is a homophobic school.”
Apart from looking great in their final year photos, the two boys already have talents outside of school with Joshua a member of the local youth choir and Ryan performs regularly as a DJ
The photo of the couple in their blue suits generated a slew of comments on Facebook, with the vast majority applauding the boys for their courage.
Frank de Graaf wrote: Being an Old Boy I must admit this is totally weird for me. Weird that it made the news, weird that people have disparaging opinions. Weird that in 2017 people still feel the need to hate on something that might not be for them, but essentially has no effect on their lives. I’m proud of the lads for being brave, but sad that they need to be brave just to be themselves.
Antoinette Nicolaou wrote: “This is how we change the world…one act of bravery and acceptance at a time. Well done boys!”
Maynette Heyns said: “Well done boys for taking a stand. Well done Boys High for setting an example….and then, not forgetting…well done the 300 other boys who embraced their classmates without a side wards glance.”
Charity Outlwile Nkadimang-Maine added: “The pride…..beautiful! Well done boys you have carved a path for others to come. I am so proud of you! May your lives be prosperous! Go on to tertiary and become productive members of society and wave the rainbow flag high!”
Joshua thanked the commentators for their positive remarks, while his mum, Sara Elizabeth Harper, gushed: “I am his mom and you cannot believe how proud I am. He is an incredible person inside and out”.
When she was praised for being an amazing mother, she replied: “I am not the amazing person Joshua Harper and Ryan Nortje are the amazing people. Life is hard already they didn’t choose this path to make it even harder. I don’t believe God would punish beautiful people being born gay.”