Lesbians Win “Cutest Couple” In High School Yearbook, Are In Fact The Cutest Couple

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.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3184 articles for us.


  1. They’re so cute.
    I’m from a rural county of California, and yeah, most of the people around here are alright. I’m sure the majority voted for Prop 8, but the kids aren’t nearly so bad. There are quite a few people out all across the LGBT spectrum.

    So maybe it’s just cause it’s California? I hate to assume that, but California as a whole seems to be a bit more accepting, even though Prop 8 passed.

    • I had to reply just because of your picture, Tryonosaurus.
      Becca and I love you. <3

  2. I love how nonchalant they seem in the interview, like “Things actually aren’t so shitty after all. And we feel pretty good about it.”

    That that is happening is awesome in and of itself! Woo! :)

  3. This is so awesome!

    My girlfriend and I were nominated “Best Friends (Girls)” making it extra awkward for the two nominated “Best Friends (Boys)” lol

    • We had that award in my middle school, but not my high school. I find it weird that high schools still assume that best friends have to be of the same gender (I mean, besides the fact that they aren’t aware that couples CAN be of the same gender).

  4. Oh this is so cute, it’s making me feel so many things, but that might be because I drove a lot of hours today and I just drank two beers. And they’re going to Columbia College together, OH LORDY BE I think my heart just exploded.

  5. I have no doubt that they actually are the cutest couple in the school. But wow. Who stays together through ALL of high school? 4 for them!

  6. I was so excited when I heard this news!! I graduated from Calaveras High School in 2006, and I don’t think anyone was openly gay at that time. While it’s true that Calaveras County has socially conservative views, I always felt that the high school had a welcoming, accepting, and respectful atmosphere. I came out only recently during the beginning of grad school, but I’m still not out to anybody in Calaveras County besides my parents. Maybe I can begin to rethink this….

    • Thank you, Captain Buzzkill, for your valuable contribution. Here’s mine.

      Votes are always anonymous and vary a hell of a lot depending on school culture and how tight-knit and/or catty the current class is. Some schools will nominate ‘cutest couples’ who aren’t even *dating* because students think they’d ‘look cute’ together (i.e. they vaguely resemble each other in looks and personality and the cult of personality at some high schools actually operates like a Disney teen sitcom). Most yearbook category winners are pretty predictable in some way; a pair dating since freshman year is basically a shoe-in for Cutest Couple. At *this* high school, I guess there weren’t any straight couples who were visible, friendly, and stuck it out that long, hence the win. The legitimate, totally sense-making win.

      I can’t believe I had to talk this long to justify a weird American high school ritual and ‘politically correct’ as a term really needs to throw itself down a very deep hole and never emerge again.

  7. At my high school (Dublin High in Dublin, CA), people nominated one of the most made-fun-of girls at our school for prom queen as a joke and it was so mean because she really believed she could win and thought people really wanted her to win. Of course she didn’t end up winning because everyone except her knew it was a joke and someone that was actually popular had to win. I’m glad high school is over and that this wasn’t a joke and that they’re the happiest little couple!! In one of my high school English classes, we voted on each other and I won “Most Likely To Travel The World”. :-D

  8. During my prom me and my girlfriend were completely skipped over in the nominations for cutest couple, when I say skipped over I mean literally the only non hetero non nominated couple in our year. I also happened to go to a very religious school, wonder what the connection there was…

  9. …a lesbian couple won best couple in my high school yearbook. I was good friends with them. It didn’t really phase anyone at my school. They all knew they were going to win because of how damn cute they were. They were actually irked that people voted for them because they weren’t out to their parents yet.

    • I feel like they should’ve just said, “Sorry Ma, I’m gay… but my girlfriend and I are already winning shit for it.”

  10. My girlfriend and I were runner up for cutest couple at our school this year…and from what I hear it was pretty close. But to be fair, we are pretty damn cute.

  11. I think this is wonderful. Being openly gay myself, this brings a lot of hope to me. I just wish it wouldn’t have been that big of a deal to be in the news, you know?

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