Pink Prom students become their fantasies

pink promOn Friday, May 23, almost a hundred students gathered to shake what their mothers gave them at Pink Prom: Become Your Fantasy, sponsored by the LGBTQ Resource Center and hosted in the Bellevue College cafeteria.
The event lasted from 6 to 10 p.m., picking up speed at about 7, when the majority of attendees started flooding in. The music was loud and the bass was low, dancers donning masquerade-style masks and beads. The DJ was playing the typical set list for any school social: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Blue” and “Goby.”
For many, this was the first prom they’d ever gone to. “The whole idea behind [Pink Prom] is that you can’t always bring the person you’re dating to prom,” said Teague Crenshaw, a student participant at the dance. “It’s a safe space.”
And that’s necessary, Crenshaw said, because many LGBTQ high school students feel unable to go to prom at their respective schools, whether because they did not feel comfortable or were possibly under threat. “We have high school students on campus who don’t get to experience their prom at schools where they feel like they’re not included, or there’s hate that goes on in their school,” said Lauren Chanelle, the Gay Straight Alliance president and the lead planner of this year’s dance. “This is just a prom for them to feel safe and not feel any hate at all.”
Pink Prom is nationally recognized as an event designed to parallel high school proms in a way that provides this safe space for the LGBTQ community, in light of the situation many students find themselves in.
“It’s really nice to give people the opportunity to actually ask the people they wanted to ask to go get down and drink punch and eat crackers,” said Lori Saffin, adviser to the LGBTQ Resource Center.
For Saffin, the success of the event is largely attributable to the nature of the community it was held for. “The LGBTQ community on campus is very tightly knit. […] We have events at least a couple times a month.”
All of this interaction helps to strengthen and stabilize the group internally. The general consensus among attendees is that the prom fulfilled its mission to provide a safe, inclusive and entertaining place to be, especially at this time of the year when midterms loom.
Saffin thinks the dance is just what students need during this stressful time. “It’s really nice to have something at the end of the year, a little party,” she said.
Pink Prom is held every year during spring quarter and is open to all.