Some people within the LGBTQ+ community were never given the opportunity to be themselves during their teenage years, and the Human Rights Campaign Triangle seeks to create a safe space that allows individuals to relive their high school prom experience in a way that’s more true to themselves.
On Saturday, Nov. 2, the Human Rights Campaign Triangle will host its second Queer Prom: A Fall Ball. The event will begin at 8 p.m. and go until midnight at Rigsbee Hall in Durham.
Jill Duffner, of the HRC Triangle, is an organizer of Queer Prom. She said the event has been HRC Triangle’s largest fundraiser.
“(The steering committee was) looking for ways to come together and celebrate with the community and create an impactful event that would reach a wider audience," Duffner said. "This is one we were really excited about."
Queer Prom intends to create an accepting environment where individuals can attend prom with the person of their desire, facing no judgment.
This past March, Duffner and her team attended the HRC Equality Convention where she said Queer Prom won an award for its unique attributes.
“It’s an opportunity to celebrate everyone's uniqueness, come together and have this diversity of people that have a common goal of creating equality,” Duffner said. “I want people to walk away feeling supported."
Some anticipated attendees are already getting in the spirit by sharing their promposals and their many song requests with each other on the event’s Facebook page.
Paige Sullivan attended last year’s Queer Prom and plans to return this year with her friends.
“Back in school, in the mid-to-late 90s, I was still hiding," Sullivan said. "I had to go to prom as a guy and I knew back then that wasn't me."
Sullivan stresses that typically the older and younger age groups of the LGBTQ+ community don’t come together very often and this event is a way to make that happen. Queer prom is for those 21 years and older.
“It shows the younger folks who come out that there might be a generational gap there, but we do support and we love our youth,” Sullivan said. “It’s important for them to see they have all these people older than them that have this common bond and we’re in this fight together."
Nick Hawthorne-Johnson is an owner of Ponysaurus Brewing Company, a returning sponsor of Queer Prom. Ponysaurus’ beer, “Don't Be Mean To People. A Golden Rule Saison,” was made by them as a response to North Carolina's HB2 and will be served at the event.
“'Don't Be Mean To People' is Ponysaurus' stand for community engagement to protect the voices and rights of everybody,” Hawthorne-Johnson said.
HRC Triangle has received new and returning local sponsors for the prom that are crucial to its success.
“I’m really proud of the community in this area that takes a stand for social equality, social justice and what they believe in,” Hawthorne-Johnson said.
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