For most who attended their prom, it was a rite of passage, an event to be celebrated. For others, it was a time when loneliness and sadness were only amplified.
The LGBTQ+ Alliance Centre Yarmouth recognizes the alienation the latter group experienced. On May 11, it will hold a prom at the Yarmouth high school to turn bad memories into happy ones.
Board member Dana Osmond says the prom is being promoted as a community, substance-free event, with anyone over 16 invited to attend.
“The point of it is to provide a supportive space for LGBTQ+ persons to take part in an important rite of passage,” she said.
“For many of us, the typical prom did not reflect us. This is meant to raise up and encourage all people to participate, including allies (of the LGBTQ community).”
A photo booth, snacks and entertaining attractions will be included along with typical “prom stuff.”
Organizers hope for a turnout of several hundred and are pleased with the support they’ve received.
The budget for the event is about $6,000 and so far the Yarmouth County Community Health Board has provided $1,500, with donations provided by the Yarmouth Rotary Club, $500 by Coast Financial Credit Union, SouthWest Dental and many in-kind donations from small businesses. The Town of Yarmouth has been approached for a cultural grant of $500.
This is the first big event for LGBTQ+ Alliance Centre Yarmouth and Osmond says it will help to integrate the community and make people aware of its existence.
“We don’t have a brick-and-mortar building (yet), that’s our dream for the future,” she said.
“It would be a place for services, where people can come for counselling, for support in general and also to work with existing foundations to provide help for community members.”
There will be no admission charge to the prom.
“Making it a free community event is part of the inclusion, and why we are so grateful for the awarded grants and donations from community partners. It enables us to be able to offer a meaningful celebration to our LGBTQ+ community members of all ages and backgrounds,” said Osmond.