Prom: something almost every teen and young adult in America is familiar with, and has probably spent a good deal of time looking forward to. It’s an arguably hyper-romanticized and over-funded event that happens one night out of the school year, involves lots of bad dancing and sore feet, at least a little heartbreak and drama, and probably some good memories as well.
However, for many young adults who identify with the LGBTQ community, prom is an event that is often full of dread and uncertainty. Many transgender folks feel as if they may not be able to wear clothing that best represents their identity to prom. Non-heterosexual couples may even be banned from attending prom with their partners. Overall, it’s a situation that is not overwhelmingly inclusive to queer people.
Drexel’s annual Gay Prom (or “Grom,” affectionately) seeks to recreate that high school experience for members of the queer community in a night of celebrating identity and inclusivity. The 2018 Grom was hosted May 12 in the Van Rensselaer by the Student Center for Diversity and Inclusion .
At the event, which was available to all students for just $5, food and drinks were served, and a DJ provided music from the balcony while party-goers danced the night away.
“I really enjoyed the whole event. It was well worth the price, the music was good, and the food was delicious,” Isaac Quelly, a fourth-year architectural engineering student, said.
The space was decorated to look like a real prom. A photo wall donned with rainbow Drexel Dragon logos took up space in the back of the ballroom beside a table equipped with loads of instant film and an Instax camera available for students to use.
Balloons and rainbows were everywhere, and the atmosphere was incredibly positive. In one corner was a poster for students to fill with cards they could write on to describe what “pride” meant to them. In the basement of Van R, there was a lounge area for dancers to cool off, sit, chat, and use gender-neutral bathrooms free from the pressure of having to choose bathrooms “best suited” to guests’ gender identities.
Freshman biological sciences major Madison Bockol attended the prom.
“Overall what made it such a great event was that it was a safe, fun environment for LGBT+ students to dance and celebrate and look their best (which we did). It’s honestly so rare to have spaces where you’re not the odd one out and Grom being a culmination of a bunch of gay and trans kids having fun was what made it great,” she explained.
“The highlight of my evening was — as a man — dancing with the man I loved, and not feeling like I didn’t belong. Not being an outsider or having to worry about how others thought about me. I could just be in that moment with him,” Quelly said.
A fun and fabulous evening was had by all thanks to the Student Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and another Gay Prom will hopefully be held in May of next year.