Destinee Gates and Becca Fernandez have been dating since their freshman year of high school, which is impressive enough in and of itself. Perhaps that’s one of many reasons why their classmates voted them “Cutest Couple” in the yearbook, shocking locals such as a weird News 10 anchor who tells the camera: “Here in the heart of California’s gold country, Calaveras County has long been a bastion of traditional moral values. That’s why we were so surprised by this year’s Calaveras High School Yearbook.”
News 10 interviewed the girls and the principal, who took issue with the conservative characterization of their area: “Calaveras County and a lot of our rural counties often get stereotyped as being unaccepeting. And I think that’s a false perception.”
Aside from the fact that this is cute and probably made you smile, ultimately what this speaks to is that you can’t make easy generalizations when it comes to Today’s Youth.
Calaveras County is a mostly-white area with a higher-than-average median resident age and its political population skews conservative, but only slightly — in 2008, 42.5% of Calaveras County went for Obama and 55.6% for McCain. Only 18.5% of Calaveras County residents are affiliated with religious congregations (the country-wide average is 52%).
However, 63% voted in favor of Proposition 8 (the statewide vote came in at 52% in favor) back in 2008 — but of course, none of those voters are amongst the 1,000 students enrolled at Calaveras High School, and a 2012 poll found that a majority of Californians do, now, support gay marriage. Things are changing fast. Destinee and Becca say they’ve never been harassed for their orientation in school, and they plan to stay together and continue being cute at Columbia College in Sonora this fall.