Queer Prom offers prom ‘re-do’ for LGBTQ+ community

Jackie Phillips

Queers and Allies hosted their annual Queer Prom on Friday, April 7. The prom was held in the Northern Center in Ballrooms I and II from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

With drinks, food and music, Queer Prom was advertised as a “re-do” of prom for anyone needing a better prom experience. This was geared toward members of the LGBTQIA+ community, offering the chance of expression and the choice to attend prom with whomever and however a student may wish. 

Queer Prom is a second chance, said Avery Zahlmann, Queers and Allies vice president.

“We know that some people aren’t able to express [themselves] the way that they want to or even go to prom,” Zahlmann said. “We wanted to let people show up to prom however they want to.” 

Various court cases have occurred regarding schools banning same-sex couples from attending their prom, such as Aaron Fricke v. Richard Lynch, a federal court case that upheld high school senior Aaron Fricke’s right to bring his same-sex date to the prom. Many students have faced discrimination when attending their high school prom and due to that discrimination, many LGBTQ+ identifying community members look back on their prom negatively. 

According to an article written by the DoSomething Organization, students from all over the country helped to create a “map of prom discrimination” by adding their stories. In the article, students recall their genderfluid classmates being forced to wear clothing that they were not comfortable in, as well as other students recalling a higher priced ticket for students who were not considered for the “couple pricing” due to not being a straight couple. 

Movements like DoSomething.org’s “Take Back to Prom” have surfaced in order to allow members of the LGBTQ+ community to have a discrimination-free prom experience. In their prom “re-do,” Queers and Allies offers the same experience, a queer space where those in attendance can present how they are most comfortable while being supported by community members also in attendance. 

Queers and Allies wants to let people show up to prom however they want to, Zahlmann said. 

“We want people to know that there is a community that supports them,” Zahlmann said. “[We want] to create happy experiences and memories.” 

Queers and Allies hosts various meetings throughout the semester, some dedicated to planning and organizing the prom. On top of planning for the prom on its own time, the organization also meets with the Student Finance Committee (SFC) to fund it. 

While the organization’s main focus is on LGBTQIA+ individuals, the event is for anyone who was interested in attending. The prom “re-do” is meant to be a space where any student is free to be themselves and feel comfortable while doing so. On the Queers and Allies HUB page, the organization states that they are dedicated to providing an open space for anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+. 

“We want people to be able to meet like-minded individuals and feel supported by their peers and community,” said Cameron Jenerou, Queers and Allies secretary.