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SAN DIEGO — Prom can be a horrible experience for LGBT teens. Case in point: Constance McMillen, whose Mississippi high school cancelled prom after McMillen asked to take her girlfriend, only to then hold a “secret” prom and not invite her.
The Hillcrest Youth Center, in partnership with the The Center, rights these wrongs with The Other Prom, a yearly event held for LGBT teens and their allies.
This year, the Other Prom will take place from 6 to 9 pm Saturday, June 18, at The Center in Hillcrest.
“We have a prom-planning committee (PPC) that includes both youth and adult volunteers,” said Jess Culpepper, coordinator for the Hillcrest Youth Center and responsible for this year's prom.
Organizers are expecting about 200 teens at the prom, and Culpepper explained why they picked this year's ‘90s theme.
“The past few prom themes have been ‘80s, masquerade and gaylaxy. So this year, the PPC decided to go with ‘90s since it hasn't been done. Plus, most of our youth were born in the early ‘90s and it's nostalgic for them,” she said.
Will there be a king and queen crowned wearing MC Hammer pants and dancing to Vanilla Ice?
“We decided a few years ago not to have a king and queen based on feedback from our youth,” Culpepper said.
“This prom includes youth from all over San Diego County and most of them are meeting for the first time. We've found that they would rather mingle and dance for the duration of the prom than take time out for voting on and crowning a king and queen. Plus, a great majority will still attend their high school prom, which will include a king and queen. They've made it clear that they would rather not have that type of contest at The Other Prom,” she said.
This year's event won't just consist of typical prom fare such as a DJ spinning pop hits and food and drinks being served. These teens work to truly own their night.
“We'll have a special break about halfway through that will include performances by the youth. One will be doing a choreographed dance, several are in a band together and one is a singer/songwriter,” Culpepper said.