It’s prom season, and while many students are shopping for prom dresses or picking out tuxes for their school’s prom, others are getting ready for a dance geared especially toward LGBT youth.
“So many kids felt like they couldn’t go to their junior prom or their senior prom because they were gay or felt awkward, or didn’t really know where they fit in. And because of that, no one went and they felt left out,” said Sheila Raboy, director of operations at the Utah Pride Center. “This way, you’re giving the kids who would have stayed home from their prom the opportunity to go to one.”
The Utah Pride Center sponsors Queer Prom each year, a dance that grew from just 80 kids in its first year to more than 850 at last year’s event.
This Saturday will mark the 10th anniversary of the dance, and Raboy said the organization will be celebrating with the theme “decades.”
“These kids come from everywhere. They come from as far south in Utah and as far north in Utah as you can go,” she said.
About 70 percent of the kids who attend identify as LGBT. The other 30 percent are their ally friends who want to support them. Raboy said providing an environment where the kids can feel accepted and have fun is very important to her.
“The need for that is so great. As you can tell, 850 children coming from all over Utah to be able to feel accepted and affirmed, and enjoy an evening, and we provide that opportunity for them.”
Raboy said she fully expects the dance grow even more this year.
Queer Prom will take place at the Salt Lake City Library and is open to youth ages 14 to 20. Click here for more information about the dance.