A tale of two prom queens: Same-sex couple makes history in Pennsylvania

ByTaRhonda Thomas via WPVI logo
Friday, June 11, 2021
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Carly and Courtney's win marks the first time that a same-sex couple has won for prom queens at Pennridge High School and possibly in the entire state of Pennsylvania.

PERKASIE, Pennsylvania -- Carly Levy and Courtney Steiner had their prom outfits all planned out: Carly would wear a navy blue dress, Courtney would wear a pink dress. And they'd get each other wrist corsages to bring the outfits together.

"I got her flowers to match my pink gown and she got me flowers too that matched her navy blue gown," said Courtney.

The two Pennsylvania seniors have been dating for a few months, and there was no question they would go to prom together. The only question was would they become Pennridge High School's first same-sex couple to be named prom queens.

"I think it started with our friend Delaney," said Courtney. "She came up to me and was like, 'Can I nominate you and Carly for prom queen?' I was like, 'Yeah, why not!'"

As students started spreading the word, the couple found themselves on the ballot, which was changed to be more inclusive after a friend brought it up.

"She pushed to change the term from prom king and queen to prom royalty," said Courtney.

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Carly was surprised to even make it on the ballot.

"I wasn't sure if Pennridge was going to allow it," she said, "because this region and this county can lean a little away from allowing that kind of thing to happen. But I was so excited when I found out that it was."

She was even more excited last Friday when it was announced that the two seniors had won the title of prom queens.

"Everybody started screaming," said Courtney.

"I couldn't believe we won," said Carly.

Courtney's mom, Diane Steiner, couldn't believe it either when the two called her from the prom to share the good news.

"I just kept saying, 'Holy crap!'" recalled Steiner.

"At prom, we found out we had the most votes, overwhelmingly," said Carly.

Their win marks the first time that a same-sex couple has won for prom queens at Pennridge High School and possibly in the entire state of Pennsylvania.

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WPVI-TV contacted the national offices of GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). The organization had not heard of a same-sex couple being named Prom Queens in Pennsylvania. GLAAD could also only point to a couple of instances across the country in which same-sex couples were named prom royalty.

"It's an amazing story of support and inclusion for LGBTQ youth, especially at a time when so many are being targeted across the country," said Barbara Simon, head of GLAAD's news and campaigns, via email.

"I think it's making an impact beyond just us, and I think it's impacting our community as well," said Courtney.

The 18-year-olds are especially happy that their win comes during Pride Month. They have already heard from people who say seeing them has made a difference for them.

"(My sister) said one of her (co-workers) came over and said, 'Your sister and her girlfriend made my kid who is gay feel safe and inspired for prom,'" said Carly.

Courtney and Carly thank their classmates for voting for them. As they look forward to graduation next week, Carly and Courtney are still riding the high of being named prom queens.

"It gives me hope for so many students," said Carly. "Students who aren't your typical prom king and queen."