On April 6, members of the Maryville College Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) will host the first ever diversity prom on campus. The diversity prom is an opportunity for same-sex couples to have a night to have fun and bring the date of their choosing without the fear of being judged. The event acts as a safe place for LGBTQ students to experience this rite of passage that most people take for granted.
At traditional proms, straight couples are typically the norm, but the diversity prom will promote a comforting environment where members of the LGBTQ community can be themselves.
“At an event like this, we are not the minority and that makes it a more comfortable and enjoyable experience,” said Sarah Smith, co-president of MC’s GSA.
Although in most high schools it is not forbidden for same-sex couples to attend prom, it can be uncomfortable for members of the LGBTQ community and some may choose not to attend. Students miss out on what is supposed to a wonderful night to remember. For some students who do choose to attend traditional prom, they may not have the chance to bring their significant other, which causes them to miss the opportunity to share this special memory with someone they love.
“I went to my high school prom and it was very interesting to say the least,” said Brian Reid, freshman at MC.
A group of high-school aged student representatives of the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) organized this event. They work to provide a safe learning environment for all students. GLSEN works with policy makers to make sure inclusive safe school policy legislation is considered and passed.
The event is open to local GSA organizations and members of the LGBTQ community. “I am so proud that MC is providing this opportunity. It really speaks to the Respect tenet in the Maryville College Covenant that we respect, honor and treat all people as they want to be treated,” said Roger Myers, co-advisor of GSA.
All proceeds from the event will go to GLSEN. Everyone is encouraged to attend the event and enjoy a storybook-themed dance in a safe environment. Staff and students are looking forward to having the events on campus and it is expected to be a great time. “Just think how wonderful it will be for any student who attends to be able to come with their dance, to dance, to celebrate and enjoy an evening without fear of harassment or bullying,” Myers said.