For most high school students, prom is a significant staple in their memories, providing old pictures to look back on. However, it’s often forgotten that several students consistently fall victim to the pressures of not only having a date, but having a socially acceptable one.
That’s where PRISM’s Queer Ball comes in.
“A lot of LGBTQ kids in high school never got to go to their prom or not with the people that they wanted to go to their prom with,” sophomore psychology major Disha Dass said.
Dass, however, was among the few able to take her girlfriend at the time to her high school prom, but not without facing severe backlash from her peers.
“I was told I shouldn’t be allowed to go school,” Dass said, recalling her high school prom. “One of my friends told me that we were ruining the symmetry (of the prom pictures) because all of the boys were wearing black tuxes and my girlfriend and I were wearing dresses.”
Dass was given a second chance to attend a prom-like setting at the 4th annual Queer Ball on Tuesday, Oct. 1 with her current girlfriend, Megan Osika. Both are proud to be on the executive board of PRISM, which put together this event. “People really do feel free to be themselves,” said Osika, a junior secondary education, English and women’s and gender studies triple major. “They get to dance with whoever they want to dance with and talk to whoever they want to talk to. They don’t have to worry about being stigmatized.”
Room 202 of the Brower Student Center, where the Queer Ball was held, was exactly the type of atmosphere that Osika described. Students, regardless of their sexual preference — queer or straight — united together, dancing, laughing and genuinely enjoying themselves in a room void of judgment — something that is so rarely found.
Open to everyone, including non-students, the event was free, offering a large dance floor DJ-ed by WTSR and pizza to eat at tables provided on the side. Continuing their tradition of crowning a Queer Ball King and Queen, PRISM decided to make a new addition, including a gender-neutral Queer Ball monarch, won by senior Devhon Romulus.
Queer Ball King was awarded to senior Remy Lourenco while Queer Ball Queen went to Dass, completing the night she never experienced in high school.
Students dressed to their comfort level and danced wholeheartedly with no hesitation, following the example of the stunning guest appearance of drag queen alumna, Ms. Rosetta Stone.
“It’s just really fun to dress up, but you don’t have to,” said Dass, commenting on the flexibility of the event. “You can wear anything from sweat pants to a ball gown.”
But the outfits of the students were as irrelevant as their gender identities, as the most significant factor of the night were the obvious smiles plastered on each participant’s face.
“It’s really just like the prom you never got to go to in high school,” Osika said. “It’s just a really nice opportunity to dress up, go out and have fun with someone you love.”