Atlanta chorus to host gay teen in prom flap

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The gay Georgia teen who gained attention this week for pushing to bring his boyfriend to the prom only to be kicked out by his parents will be a guest at Friday’s concert by the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus.

Derrick Martin (photo left), an 18-year-old honor student at Bleckley County High School in Cochran, is expected to attend AGMC’s “Georgia on My Mind” concert tonight at Virginia Highland Church, according to chorus Executive Director Keith Fenton. He may even return for one of the Saturday performances, too, Fenton says.

The AGMC is ending its statewide tour with three performances in Atlanta on Friday and Saturday.

A crush of media attention, support and criticism has engulfed Martin since news broke Tuesday that he was allowed to bring boyfriend Richard Goodman (photo right) to the prom on April 17. But the attention, which included international news reports, the creation of two Facebook pages and pledges of financial support, prompted his parents to oust the teen from his home.

Martin sought permission from his school principal to bring Goodman, since school policy requires dates from outside the county to be approved in advance. The school initially resisted OK’ing the request for Goodman, who lives about 85 miles from Cochran, but a school system attorney later said current policy doesn’t prohibit same-sex dates.

Martin tells the GA Voice that he’s surprised the story received so much attention, including an appeal from Ellen Degeneres to appear on her show.

“They called me and asked me to be a guest,” Martin told the Georgia Voice Thursday night while lying on a trampoline with a group of friends. While in Atlanta, Martin said he may look for a tuxedo.

“It’s surprising. I expected a story in the [Macon] Telegraph and that would be it.”

Martin says being kicked out by his parents is their latest move to discourage him since coming out about 18 months ago.

Martin said he came out a year-and-a-half ago. He told his best friend first. Then his parents found text messages he’d exchanged with a boy he was dating at the time.

“They knew something was up. I told them. Then they took my car, my iPod, my phone, my laptop — every way they could think of to try to keep me from communicating with him,” he said.”It was really hard back then …. but everything I’ve gone though has made me stronger.”

Photo: Derrick Martin by Woody Marshall/Macon Telegraph

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