LGBTQ’s fight to keep Pink Prom

Friday, May 17 marked Bellevue College’s third annual Pink Prom, an event hosted by BC’S LGBTQ Resource Center every spring. Emily Dullanty, member of LGBTQ and the Pink Prom committee described the event as “a prom for anyone and every one of the LGBTQ community or allies to come and have a fun time. It’s a safe place for you to be yourself and [to have] fun.” The theme was “A Character Within” which allowed attendees to dress up as their favorite character from a movie, TV show or book, though costumes were by no means mandatory.

One of the more unique aspects of Pink Prom was Royalty. In addition to the standard Prom King and Queen, Pink Prom featured “promsies” two new positions for those who have a different gender identity. Because the event is open to high school students as well, traditional royalty campaigning wasn’t possible. Instead, all nominations occurred simultaneously with voting. Other than “promsies,” Pink Prom followed the pattern of a traditional prom relatively closely with a DJ and refreshments.

While the end result was seemingly successful, there were times when the mere execution of Pink Prom was put into question. Ali Collucci, director of LGBTQ explained that complications with last year’s prom caused the budget to be cut from $5000 to $2500. Collucci recalled the early stages of this year’s planning to begin “fall quarter, then started doing paperwork…the very, very end of last quarter, or the very, very beginning of this quarter.” Despite the early start, Dullanty admitted that while “for the most part…[things] ran smoothly…it’s crunch time now, we’re realizing how much we have to do because it’s a big deal. But it’s fun.” Dullanty went on to say that “at the beginning of last week we had sold…four tickets. And it was said that if we didn’t sell more by the end of the week…prom would be cancelled.” Associate Director of Student Programs Nora Lance, explained that the reason for this was that the Prom budget came out of student funds and therefore, it was urgent that more tickets be sold.

Collucci said that with “that fear that we would spend all the money on finalizing the food and the DJ and everything for 20 people to show up…that’s when we really started pushing and you know, we had already started to advertise on Facebook…we started talking in our classes [and high school] a little bit…but the posters hadn’t been done yet because there was a problem there. So we started really pushing.” That push worked, because a week later 38 tickets had been sold. But Collucci was confident that with many people’s paychecks coming out on Friday, more tickets would be sold at the door. Colluci said that what caused the most stress was the sudden budget cut which left her, the rest of leadership and the prom committee unsure of how to proceed. But next year, she hoped that planning would instead start with tackling the fixed costs first and then focus on the fluctuating costs. Regardless of the planning process, Collucci, Dullanty and Lance all had high expectations for the outcome of Pink Prom.