The KSC LGBTQA+ community got the opportunity to attend a post-high school prom. KSC Pride held the event on Saturday, Oct. 29 in the Mabel Brown Room. Although there was no dress code, many attendees dressed to impress in dresses, khakis and button downs.
As rainbow balloons fluttered through the room, KSC students and friends danced the night away. The music blasted through the Young Student Center, and the laughs could be heard from the first floor. Students giggled as they danced freely as LGBTQA+ individuals.
President of KSC Pride Sam Whitaker said this was the first Pride Prom in many years, but by 8 p.m. the dance floor was already full of attendees.
“We at Pride call it Pride Prom, but other people call it a second chance prom,” Whitaker said. “Sometimes when you go to high school and you’re not out, you end up going [to prom] with someone who might not be the gender of the partner you want to go with, or you can’t present as the gender you identify with,” Whitaker said. He said Pride Prom “is a chance for people in the community to go to a prom that’s inclusive towards them.”
Before the event, Whitaker said he had no idea what to expect for a turn out. He said that whether five or 500 people attended, the event “is doing what it’s supposed to do,” which is reaching out to people in the community who are interested and feel like they want this type of experience.
“Events like these are ways to very boldly put it out there that there are and can be events directed towards people within the [LGBTQA+] community, whereas people within the community often feel like events outside of these Pride events are sort of hetero-normally coded,” Whitaker said. He said Pride Prom is a place “where you can walk into the doors and you know you can be you. You can be out and not feel unsafe, not feel like you’re going to be judged.”
As a transgender individual, attendee Pan Norkiewicz said the event was very fun and a place where “you know you’re not going to get any stigma.” Norkiewicz’s girlfriend also attended the event and they were able to spend the night together without feeling judged.
Pride event coordinator Bobbi LaChance said the event was held because “[Pride] just really wanted to celebrate the community.”
“We want to celebrate ourselves, everything we’ve been through, our struggles and how we’ve bonded together,” she said.
She said this event was important for people whose high school prom wasn’t exactly what they wanted. “At a more formal event, you might be looked at funny for being yourself, for being with your chosen partner, but [at Pride Prom] everyone is just super accepting. It’s a safe place for them to come to let loose and have a good time,” LaChance said.
Though it was her first time coordinating an event for Pride, LaChance said everyone involved was very supportive. From the DJ to the lights manager, everyone was happy to help put on the event, she said. LaChance said the kitchen was more than happy to make rainbow cupcakes too.
Pride public relations representative Chrysanthe Pantazopoulos said she attended the event not only to support Pride, but to get more involved within the LGBTQ community. “Honestly getting more involved has been something very important to me ever since I started learning about the community,” she said.
Pantazopoulos said the event “was a blast.”
“Sure, people are more accepting of the [LGBTQ] community nowadays than they were a while back,” she said, “but now it’s even better because we have these pride walks, clubs and proms for people to come to and feel accepted in this kind of environment,” she said.
As for advice to someone who is looking to join Pride, Pantazopoulos encourages students to attend a Pride meeting. “You don’t have to talk [at the meeting], and if you feel comfortable, you can always come back,” she said.
Pride meets every Tuesday from 7 to 8 p.m. for anyone in the LGBTQA+ community, as well as allies. On Wednesdays, Pride holds an event called Outspoken from 6 to 7:30 p.m. According to Whitaker, Outspoken is a more in-depth discussion group for people within the LGBTQA+ community only.
MacKenzie Clarke can be contacted at email@example.com