Queer Prom 2021 | Photo by Caitlin Shatsby | The Wright State Guardian
Wright State University’s (WSU) Queer Prom strives to uphold a historical tradition of inclusiveness where students can embrace their identities at prom.
Rainbow Alliance held their third annual Queer Prom Nov. 13, immediately after their Chosen Family Feast.
Queer Prom immediately followed Chosen Family Feast, which is for students who want to have a holiday meal with their found family.
The theme for Queer Prom this year was Enchanted Forest, and students were invited to come dressed in whatever clothes they wanted, with whoever they wanted.
“I’m taking a date this year. So that’s something I never got to do before. And well, obviously I’m excited to have a normal prom. I never really had one in high school,” Alex Baughman, Rainbow Alliance’s treasurer, said.
There was space for dancing and a table for the basket raffle to raise money for the LGBT scholarship fund.
Students could buy a raffle ticket for $1 for a chance to receive a basket donated by WSU organizations and local Dayton businesses. Donations were also accepted and could be used to request songs.
Baskets were donated from WSU’s Residential Community Association, Advocates for Cultural-diversity and Excellence, Abilities and the bookstore.
WSU’s Queer Prom differs from others because it had a table for Free Mom Hugs, a nonprofit group that supports and advocates for the LGBTQA community. The group came in offering hugs to any students who wanted them.
Students also enjoyed other prom staples, like snacks and punch and electing prom royalty.
“This is a really great opportunity for LGBTQIA folks, specifically to embrace their identities and embrace their expression and to be with the people they want to be with, without judgment. It’s really special and significant to be able to have something that is theirs,” Jules Naylor, a member of Rainbow Alliance, said.
History of queer prom
Queer or gay prom is a historical tradition in the LGBTQA community. One of the longest-running gay proms is the Hayward Gay Prom, founded by Ken Athey.
Having their own prom is important to the LGBTQA community because, historically, many queer people could not go to their own prom because of their identities.
Some high schools do not allow same-sex couples or have strict dress codes that make students feel they can not truly express themselves.
WSU’s Rainbow Alliance and LGBTQA Center hopes to allay these feelings by having an all-inclusive Queer Prom where students can wear what they want and are able to have gender-neutral bathrooms close by.
“Especially queer kids in high school weren’t able to go to prom. So we want to have that opportunity in college for them to experience what they couldn’t in high school. I think it’s important for us to be able to have this every year,” Kirsten Spires, president of Rainbow Alliance, said.