Pride Prom celebrates LGBT community
The Great Hall in West Circle’s Williams Hall was draped in black and purple streamers on Friday night, with silver balloons covering the dance floor.
The hall was host to this year’s annual Pride Prom, complete with a space theme and boasting the tongue-in-cheek title “Intergaylactic.”
The prom is an annual collaboration between LGBT groups on campus, including PRISM, West Circle PRIDE and TransAction.
Social relations and policy sophomore Caitlynn Upton was elected vice president of PRISM for the upcoming year, and was one of the main organizers of this year’s prom event.
“I think it’s really important because people may not have had a great experience at their high school proms,” Upton said. “Here, they can wear whatever they want and don’t have to conform.”
“We came together with PRIDE and split the work between us,” she said. “Last year, members of TransAction had some things they wanted to see and there were some really great suggestions, so we worked with them this year. They wanted it to be more formal, to have a photographer and to get more people involved.”
With these additions, it was difficult to tell the difference between Pride Prom and every typical high school prom.
Attendees arrived in suits and dresses to take pictures in front of a space-themed backdrop, while president of PRIDE and jazz studies sophomore Dakota Peterson’s band — astroLove connection — played on.
High school prom experiences differed for many in attendance, as did their reasons for deciding to attend Pride Prom.
“I actually had a lovely high school prom experience but I also went to Queer Prom in Ann Arbor, which was one of the coolest things I’ve ever went to,” zoology junior Ray Preuss said.
Aside from the chance to dance and have fun with friends, Preuss actually decided to come based on a more personal invitation.
“In all honesty, there was a cute girl in my French class who asked me to come,” Preuss said.
Political theory and constitutional democracy senior Alyssa George said her own high school prom experience wasn’t necessarily negative, but she went with dates who were nothing more than friends.
“I didn’t know my identity at the time, and I went with boys who were acquaintances,” she said. “It was fun, but I’m glad I’m in a place now where I’m comfortable.”
George and her partner, social relations and policy junior Nickle Trudeau, showed off their ballroom dance skills on the dance floor earlier in the evening.
“I came from a small town and didn’t feel comfortable with my identity,” George said. “Here, I feel comfortable celebrating who I am in a cultural rite of passage.”
Indeed, prom is an experience idealized by countless movies and songs as being the defining point of any high school experience. But societal expectations and prejudices can prevent non-binary students from presenting themselves the way they may want to.
“It’s important for people to express who they are, free of limitations,” George said.