Progressive Pink Prom

Mel Hanby, Reporter

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Prom season has come and gone for most of us in Lane County. Some students only chose to attend their school’s venue, or just their significant other’s. Some students may have had no desire to attend any dances at all, or something got in the way, or they just didn’t feel like it. For LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, aromantic/asexual) students across the district, their time to shine was Saturday, May 20th, at this year’s annual Pink Prom.

The Hilton in Eugene hosted Pink Prom this year. The Victorian Gothic themed ballroom was decked out in columns, spiderwebs, skulls, and lace. No matter what the theme is the goal of the dance is to provide LGBTQIA+ students with a safe space to attend prom without having to worry about outside stressors or dangers. Even though 4J doesn’t allow discrimination against sexual orientation or gender identity, it is impossible for school staff to monitor students actions 24/7. There is no guarantee against harassment of same sex couples or transgender individuals at such events. At Pink Prom same sex couples, who may be less confident about being out, can enjoy themselves without worry. Transgender women can present feminine and wear dresses, if they like, and not worry about judgment. Transgender men can feel safe presenting as their identified gender and wear a chest binder and suit, if they want. There are no requirements and no one is turned away. If a student identifies as lesbian, gay, transgender, queer (an umbrella term that covers sexual orientation and gender identity, as there are many orientations and identities), intersex, aromantic and/or asexual, or is an ally, they are welcome.

Many safeguards are taken to ensure attending students’ privacy and comfort. Changing rooms are available for students, and both men and women bathrooms are changed to all gender so that nonbinary or transgender attendees are provided with the spaces they need. As students entered, they were provided with a wristband and a name tag. The wristbands were red or a different color. Red wristbands meant that the student didn’t want pictures taken. This is paramount for students who are in potential danger should someone see them identifying as their gender, expressing their orientation, or even allyship. On the name tags, students wrote down their preferred name and pronouns. This was especially important for transgender and genderqueer prom goers. In other venues they may not feel comfortable or safe correcting someone who misgenders them; here their pronouns are loud and clear and they feel safe presenting them that way.

Respect of identity and orientation was fostered throughout the whole event. Volunteers that came early to set up were offered free pizza from the Coburg Pizza Company, and free hair and makeup from professional stylists. The dance began at seven and went until ten. Students danced to the Time Warp, took group photos in the Victorian photo booth, dipped marshmallows in the chocolate fountain, and spent the night with people who accepted them as they truly are. Pink Prom 2017 was a night to remember.

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Progressive Pink Prom