Carmel High School's first same-sex "cutest couple" -- Brad Taylor and Dylan Meehan -- are making waves on Tumblr after their friend posted on a blog about their yearbook photo Friday.
The item generated 106,000 shares on the social networking site as of Monday morning.
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Taylor and Meehan's pal Chelsea Blaney posted the photo of the pair with the caption: "Two of my best friends won 'Cutest Couple' of our senior class. First time in my school history a same sex couple has even been able to run for this category, not to mention winning it. So proud of them, and my school."
On Monday, Blaney told Newsday that "the reaction has definitely been more than I ever could have imagined. It's completely blown up."
When the online voting for senior superlatives began, there were only heterosexual couples on the list, but she and her friends successfully lobbied Carmel High School Principal Kevin Carroll to change the form.
Blaney said Taylor and Meehan are very popular in her senior class of about 300 students, though acceptance for LGBT couples isn't quite universal there.
The blog post drew the attention of The Huffington Post website, to which Taylor and Meehan emailed their response to all the attention, saying that the experience has been "surreal."
"We never realized that our happiness and openness would inspire so many individuals," they said. "When we started dating a year ago, the thought of a photo of us traveling throughout the world would be a bit frightening, but now we are proud to be part of the LGBT community."
Carroll said he was surprised at the attention the photo received.
"Kids aren't hiding anymore," Carroll said. "They feel free, and they feel safe in the school -- that's the way it is."
Blaney said she has received many messages of thanks for posting the item. One 19-year-old was even inspired to tell his parents he was gay after seeing the post.
Blaney also is trying to extend Taylor and Meehan's 15 minutes of fame and reach more students with the positive message by appealing to openly gay talk show host Ellen DeGeneres to invite them on her show.