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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

LGBT students get a second chance prom

LGBT+students+get+a+second+chance+prom

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students were given the opportunity to take their preferred partner to prom at ASUA Pride Alliance’s annual Second Chance Prom on Friday.

Because many high school students give in to the social pressures to take someone of the opposite sex to prom, many LGBT students do not have a “second chance” to attend prom with someone they want. Second Chance Prom re-created a high school prom and attendees were able to enjoy music, dancing, food and raffle prizes in an accepting and inclusive way.

Stephan Przybylowicz, co-director of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona Pride Alliance and a graduate student studying information resources and library science, said the experience differed greatly from his high school prom.

“This is really great for people who did not get the experience in high school,” Przybylowicz said. “When I was in high school, nobody was out.”

Second Chance Prom aimed to give students a safe place to celebrate their identity at the UA, according to Greg Daniels, an intern with Pride Alliance and the event’s coordinator. It also helped give his club more exposure to LGBT and allied students both on and off campus.

Daniels said the UA is the perfect place to host this type of event.

“It’s a very progressive place,” he said. “We definitely have a good deal here. ASU and NAU are really jealous of what we’re doing.”

Allegra Ruiz, a psychology freshman, said the event successfully re-created a high school prom.

“You actually get to do prom the way you want to do it,” Ruiz said. “It definitely exceeded my expectations.”

Second Chance Prom royalty was selected at random. Instead of through voting, participants put their names on raffle tickets. The crowning was also gender neutral. That way, students could place their names in the drawing for whatever gender they identify with.

“Prom is a huge cultural signifier of the teenager experience, and it’s really important that everyone gets that experience,” Przybylowicz said. “I liked the way that we did the royalty. It’s not a popularity contest and everybody has a chance.”

Mary K. Underwood, a sophomore and attendee, said she wouldn’t have changed a thing from the event.

“I showed up and wore exactly what I wanted, which was a bow tie, a vest and a button down,” Underwood said.

Underwood performed in drag, along with other students, to entertain guests.

“I just had an absolute blast,” Underwood said.

Ivanna Cox, a drag queen who performed at the event, said she was happy that a lot of people from the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation attended the prom to show their support. Others, like Pride Alliance intern Chris Sogge, said he wished more people would come to other events hosted by the club.

“I know that a lot of the time it can be really nerve-racking, you’ll think you’ll be ousted if you go here, or if you’re an ally in the community people will assume that you’re not straight because you’re hanging out with a bunch of gay people,” Sogge said.

Despite fears of stigma, Sogge said he isn’t bothered either way.

“We have a good time, and I think that people should definitely try to come to Second Chance Prom next year,” he added.

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