Open prom creates a safe space for queer students

Kaden Bryant, Editor-in-Chief

In high school, oftentimes many students are closeted. The bigoted treatment of others forces kids to hide their gender and sexuality from their peers. This struggle includes the issue of prom and even causes some students not to attend at all.

Many LGBTQ+ students want to go, but stray away due to anxiety around being accepted or judged by their cisgender peers. As a solution to this, an open prom was organized by OHS seniors Camille Rush and Kristi Rivera who saw a need for an inclusive event. However, the event was not sanctioned by Seminole County Public Schools and was completely organized by the students.  

“It provides a safe space for people who are unable to just be themselves,” said Rush. “A lot of queer people have to worry about being harassed for dressing the way they want, but the open prom allows everyone to be safe and comfortable and still enjoy themselves.”

The event was held on April 23, 2022. Tickets were priced at a low 20 dollars – compared to 90 for regular prom – with a photo area, food, requestable music, and a karaoke machine being provided.

By having a separate prom for queer identities, it eliminates the worry of judgement and harassment. Instead of having to be anxious about how people might react to their same-sex partner or appearance, these people are now able to be themselves in a safe space.

“Everyone there was just so nice and friendly,” said Roman Wilson, a sophomore who attended the open prom. “It was less about the stuff you could do and more about the people that were there just having fun together in a place where we could all feel safe.”

The open prom will likely be continued in the following years, seeing as how much it means to LGBTQ+ students. Though it’s unfortunate that not all queer students feel comfortable enough attending the regular prom, this is a viable solution for those still wishing for a night of fun that many straight, cisgender people take for granted.