Social cliques, school tests, acne, crushes and heartbreaks. These are healthy but high-pressure realities for teenagers as they find their identity.

Natalie Rincones and Clarissa Lopez at senior prom / Jotxs y Recuerdos on Facebook

But for some teens, expressing their true identity is more challenging when it goes against the status quo. Such was the case for Natalie Rincones and Clarissa Lopez, two queer students who happen to be a couple and who were instrumental in creating the Gay-Straight Alliance at Los Fresnos High School in South Texas 🙌

Natalie Rincones and Clarissa Lopez at senior prom / Jotxs y Recuerdos on Facebook

They were only sophomores when they first got involved and confronted backlash from the community, which is largely composed of conservative, Catholic families who disapprove of LGBTQ+ relationships. The GSA group they helped form gave them and their peers a supportive network they couldn’t find in other campus organizations.

GSA artwork, Google/Wikipedia

True to their bold and courageous personalities, the young couple attended their senior prom this spring, dressed in impeccable outfits, big smiles and a can-do attitude despite any frowns of disapproval from classmates. Their outlook and efforts inspire Latinxs young and old, including a 1980s high school graduate who told them she wished she’d had the guts to do what they did when she was in school.

The Los Frenos GSA is just one in a growing number of these groups in campuses across the U.S., creating a space where teens can feel accepted to find their true selves. As we celebrate Pride Month, Natalie, Clarissa and many young Latinxs are at the forefront of a this movement.