elusivem (elusivem) wrote,

Prom Time

Today I attended my first prom – well not my prom, but it was a prom. 30 years ago this month was my high school prom. It was tradition for the junior class to personally invite the seniors to the prom in my high school. Each senior received a formal invitation from a fellow junior student. All the invitations were delivered at the same time. Anyways, this was the way it was suppose to work. I was in a class with all seniors when the members of the junior class arrived to deliver the invitations. Everybody but me received an invitation. It was painfully clear to the seniors and awkward for the juniors in the room that I did not receive an invitation. Hours later near the end of the day, I learned that this had not been a mistake.

I was not invited because I am gay. The school administration worried that I might actually show up with a date. I could only wish. Since I was the only publicly out person in the school (if not the entire school district), no other gay student would come near me. I would have had a better chance for a date if I had stayed in the closet.

A few years ago, our local PFLAG and youth group Proud Horizons started hosting an annual citywide pride prom for GLBT students and their friends. This year I was invited to chaperon the prom. I was nervous and seriously over dressed for the formal event. Side note, when did formal/semi-formal become to mean tee-shirts and jeans? There was not a fiber or inkling of pretension, pressure or awkwardness in these teens and young adults that I could see. For four hours, the 265 GLBT + friends, ate, danced, sung and enjoyed themselves better than any school prom in the city. This is amazing and a grand achievement in Nebraska.

I am disappointed that I was never invited to my prom, but I do not regret not going. After seeing how much better we can make it for the youth of today, what might have happened if I had attended 30 years ago would have been too awful to bear. I am not saying that things are necessarily better for GLBT kids today. I know that many of the schools in Nebraska still permit (sometimes encourage) bullying. This is Nebraska after all. However, my community no longer stands by and lets kids suffer through it alone like I had to. We create places and ways for them to be themselves and be happy even if just for a few hours. This is a big leap after just one generation. Imagine what their are going to do for the next generation.

Logo created by Brittany Stohl of Rebel Interactive (http://www.rebel-interactive.com/)
Tags: glbt, pride, prom

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