Happy Friday! We’re back with Feature Friday this week with a couple from our neck of the woods. Pedro and Evan are from a small town about an hour and a half away from us, so we can relate to their experience of growing up gay in the south. What we can’t relate to, however, is how brave and courageous they were for coming out while still in high school, and even attending prom together as a couple. Wonder what life would have been like if we had come out in high school?
Read on below to find out more about Pedro and Evan!
Where are you from? Morristown, TN
Where do you live? Morristown, TN
Instagram handle: @thepedroreyes @evanjmckenna
Age: both 18
On his favorite place he’s ever been: Notre Dame University! That’s where Evan is going to school. I had never been and I was blessed enough to save up money to go see him. The campus is beautiful! Evan introduced me to all his friends and I got to see his favorite places. The university means a lot to him and it meant the world for me to experience what he loves.
On coming out: I was 18 years old. The experience was scary. I had never seen another gay teen couple in our town. I feared for my safety. We live in a small town where there is a church around every corner. But after I came out I received so much support from everyone around. I had Evan by my side which meant that world to me.
On focusing on the positive: I faced backlash from some friends who I had been to church with. I received some horrible messages that I decided just to focus on how Evan and I could make this world a better place.
On paving the way after coming out: I learned that my voice mattered and I was going to make it heard. I knew it was up to Evan and I the pave the way for so many other LGBTQ youth. To show that we were happy and we had been through so much and they could make it also.
On advice for those struggling to come out: Keep going! I am here for you if you ever need me. I know how hard it is and I promise it gets better. That’s something I wanna be able to continue to work on: to prove the younger youth that there are people fighting everyday to make a change. I plan on using my voice to pave a better path for so many.
On meeting his boyfriend, Evan: We met on the cross country in high school. I knew from the moment I seen him that I liked him. We didn’t start dating till 3 years later my junior year his senior year. We were both so scared at first but I knew he was the boy for me. To know more about our story check out our Outsports article.
On growing together: We have been together for almost a year and a half. I’ve learned so much honestly since I started dating him. I’m amazed at how I can love someone so much. He is so smart but reminds me everyday I’m smart also. We push each other to try new things and be the best version we can be.
On going to prom with Evan: It was scary for sure. A lot of different feels. While we didn’t get to go to our actual high school prom due to a speech tournament we were able to do a team prom. We used a small room in our hotel and all went out to eat and danced the night away. It was amazing the support we received from our team and our amazing coach Suzanne Terry. But this year Evan is flying down for my senior prom on April 27th so make sure to follow us on that journey. I’m super excited and hope to be the cutest couple there.
On going to different colleges: I like to think we are like two old men. We talk everything out. We text each other throughout the day and plan around important dates to make sure we are there for each other. We are definitely nervous but we both have a lot of faith in our love for each other and that’s all we need.
On where he sees himself down the road: Finishing school and moving closer to wherever Evan is at for Med school. I’d liked to be a teacher so hopefully teaching at an elementary school. As long as I’m with Evan I’ll be happy.