“It is nice to be able to go to prom with whoever you want and not have to worry about what other people might think,” says Missouri senior Jake Bain.
Prom is often the culmination of a great high school experience. But as the only openly gay students at John Burroughs School in Ladue, Missouri, it was more than that for seniors—and boyfriends—Jake Bain and Hunter Sigmund.
“Prom this year was amazing,” Sigmund shared with Outsports. It was my fourth school dance with Jake and I couldn’t have imagined a better way to spend our last high school dance.” He and Bain are known for more than their identity as gay men, though. They’re active athletes and highly visible members of the student body: Sigmund is a swimmer and water polo player and Bain is actually captain of the John Burroughs football team.
Though the two have been dating for several years, they say they haven’t faced any negativity from the other students. In fact, they’ve received tremendous support from their classmates and teachers. Bain and Sigmund went to prom together last year, as well as the homecoming dance the past two years.
“We have been the only openly gay couple at Burroughs since I’ve been here, but it isn’t a problem at all at our school,” says Bain. “People treat us the same. It is nice to be able to go to prom with whoever you want and not have to worry about what other people might think.”
The support of their community was especially valuable when Bains was personally protested against by the Westboro Baptist Church, after the group read about his coming out.
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I am so honored to be recognized as the hometown hero by the @stlouisblues on their 2nd annual Pride Night?️? I couldn’t be more proud to be a Blues fan, as they continue to show their support for the LGBT community. Thank you to the entire Blues organization. #stlblues #LGB
“Not only were there hundreds of people who showed up to support us, including many students from other high schools in St. Louis, but our entire school banded together, and became stronger because of it,” he wrote in the Huffington Post. “Dozens of my school’s alumni sent in videos expressing support, along with many current students—from the LGBTQ community as well as allies—who wrote beautiful speeches and poems to show their pride. It was truly breathtaking to see so much love from not only my community, but from complete strangers.”
The two teens will be starting college in the fall, Sigmund at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Bain at Indiana State, where he will play ball. Here’s hoping the distance only makes them stronger.