Durham Pride Prom allows local youths to be themselves

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Story and photos by Stephanie Foden

Drag performers danced with youth at Pride Prom.

Durham youth rocked the fourth annual Pride Prom on May 4.

The all-inclusive end-of-year celebration for Durham’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, asexual and two-spirited (LGBTQ) youth aged 16 to 21, and their friends ensured all students could attend a prom where everyone is welcome and accepted.

“A lot of students went to their school prom, but it wasn’t the same,” said Barb Bryan, co-ordinator of the LGBTQ Centre at Durham College and UOIT and a Pride Prom organizer. “School proms tend to be standard, and this is kind of out of the box. It’s a place where the youth are welcomed to be themselves.”

Drag performers danced with youth at Pride Prom.
Drag MC/performer entertained the crowd.

Just like every high school prom, the night started off with photos and poptails, followed by dinner, dancing and, of course, the title of prom king and queen, except the titles were changed to prom aces. This year the theme was ‘punked out’ and hosted at the Oshawa Golf and Curling Club, 160 Alexandra St. Additionally there were four drag performances to entertain the crowd.

“I think it’s amazing. I didn’t go to my prom, but if I knew something like this existed, I would have went,” said Bryan. “You can tell the youth love it by their smiling faces.”

The event was hosted by various community partners including the Youth Centre, AIDS Committee of Durham Region, Pinewood Centre and Mental Health Centre, Boys and Girls Club of Durham, Community Development Council Durham, Durham Distress Centre, Durham College and UOIT LGBTQ Centre, Durham Regional Police Services, and PFLAG (Canada) Durham.

Youth at their tables at the fourth annual Pride Prom.