Queer Prom: Come as Your Natural Self

MAKANA+HOLGERSON+%E2%80%A2%C2%A0THE+SPECTATOR
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Queer Prom: Come as Your Natural Self

MAKANA HOLGERSON • THE SPECTATOR

MAKANA HOLGERSON • THE SPECTATOR

MAKANA HOLGERSON • THE SPECTATOR

MAKANA HOLGERSON • THE SPECTATOR

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On April 11, the first floor of the student center was full of students dancing with excitement as they celebrated Seattle University’s first annual Queer Prom. The theme for the event was “Come as your natural self.”

The theme extended in the decoration of the space with roses and vines draped gently around doorways, lattice covering the photo booth, and pet rock and flower making stations.

MAKANA HOLGERSON • THE SPECTATOR
MAKANA HOLGERSON • THE SPECTATOR

The idea for the event came from Nicolas Lee, the Graduate Program Coordinator in the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA). Lee wanted to give the queer community a chance to feel comfortable without requiring them to create this space themselves.

“The biggest event for the queer community was the Drag Show and the Triangle Club was putting that on themselves,” Lee said.

Lee noted that though he was very happy that the Triangle Club put on such a big event, he wanted to create a comparable event that the school would put on for the students.

“This was my way of putting something out there for queer students. This is a fun event for queer students that doesn’t come with the burden of putting it on themselves,” Lee said.

After controversial comments from University President Father Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J. targeted at queer students and LGBTQ+ identities, Lee felt that the queer community was not being properly supported by the university and decided that he could help change this.

“This event is my way of saying that I don’t agree with that. If I work on campus and represent this campus I’m going to fight against that message,” Lee said.

Lee was able to make this vision a reality with the help of OMA and student volunteers.

Alexander Grob was one such student volunteer, helping advertise and coordinate the tickets. Grob said that she had heard about the possibility of Queer Prom and the Friendsgiving event, also put on by OMA.

“None of my high school proms felt very safe or inclusive. Many of my friends and other queer people couldn’t really be themselves,” Grob said.

Alexander Erickson attended the event and shared a similar opinion and discussed the impact that having an inclusive prom in college had on him personally.

“I didn’t realize I wasn’t straight until I came to college. I think that’s partially because of the atmosphere,” Erickson said. “Here’s a chance to do the things you did in high school, but as your new self.”

Another attendee, Savannah Whiteford, also spoke to her appreciation of the event and how she feels that the idea of a prom “re-do” is impactful for many.

“A lot of people were not able to express themselves freely in high school. College is a place where people are more comfortable just being themselves,” Whiteford said.

About an hour into the event, a familiar face sauntered gracefully through the crowd in the form of Isabella Richards, a dazzling drag queen and annual performer at Seattle U’s own drag show.

Isabella was able to amplify the excitable energy of the event through her performance and speech, encouraging an even more comfortable and inclusive atmosphere.

The drag performance was not only a way to entertain the attendees, but also to help achieve the overall goals of the event.

“The idea of having a drag queen was to celebrate drag and have a piece of queer culture as part of the event. Dancing is fun, but we wanted to know what else could we do,” Lee said.

Daryn Lenahan, another attendee, spoke to the way in which the event allowed many students to come together and to find comfort in being around like peers.

“I think it’s important for people to know that they have a space, and a space for them to be themselves and identify with others,” Lenahan said.

With the first Queer Prom ending in a success, OMA wants everyone to know that the event will continue next year—and will only grow and improve.

“We worked out the kinks and felt it out this year. For those who were not able to come, you are always invited to come to OMA,” Lee said.

Kristen may be reached at
[email protected]