Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

A brief history of LGBTQ students and proms
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2018-06-20

This article shared 2034 times since Wed Jun 20, 2018
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


In recent years, many LGBTQ students have attended their high school proms across the country without any "controversy" but that was not always the case due to school officials denying them entry into the annual dance.

"Ever since its creation in the 1920s, prom has been a powerful ritual that shapes the gendered and sexual culture of American youth in ways that typically enforce heteronormativity, or the belief that the only 'good' and 'normal' way to be is a masculine boy who is attracted to feminine girls and vice versa," said Northern Illinois University ( NIU ) Professor Dr. Amanda Littauer.

This left many LGBTQ students without the ability to express themselves in a school-sponsored dance setting, however, a small number of students fought back against these gendered rules as early as the 1950s.

One such case took place in 1980 when Aaron Fricke wanted to take his friend Paul Guilbert to his Cumberland High School ( Rhode Island ) prom. His principal denied the request so Fricke filed a lawsuit. The case, Fricke v. Lynch, went to the U.S. District Court and the court sided with Fricke and also ordered that the school provide security for the couple so they would remain safe while in attendance. Fricke also wrote a book and play about the case, "Reflections of a Rock Lobster."

The case was one of the first legal victories for LGBTQ youth and set a precedent for future disputes. It has been used to counter school officials at public schools who continue to deny students the ability to bring any date or dates of their choosing to the prom.

"The Fricke story reveals the persistence, creativity and resourcefulness of youth who refused to follow the rules imposing heterosexuality and heterosexual rituals upon high school culture," said Littauer.

In recent years, there have been a number of LGBTQ students crowned prom king or queen or been named to the prom court across the country, and not just in the liberal areas.

For the past seven years, Chicago Public Schools ( CPS ) has hosted a queer prom, with the location changing each year. This year's event was held on the South Side, for the first time. According to Chicago GSA Prom co-founder Noa Padowitz, the event has grown in popularity every year.

"CPS allows students to bring any high school-aged partner to prom, however, due to social pressure, some students do not feel comfortable bringing same sex or gender non-conforming partners to their home school's prom," said Padowitz. "The Chicago GSA Prom started to provide CPS students with a safe space to dance with and meet other LGBTQ+ students from around the city."

Now colleges like NIU have gotten into the Queer Prom game. This year's NIU Queer Prom was sponsored by the LGBTQ student support group Prism and took place on March 31 on the college's campus.

NIU senior Margaret Hitchcock had the idea of holding a Queer Prom on campus her freshman year, however, it took until this past school year for it to take place.

"I was so excited to see Queer Prom finally happen," said Hitchcock. "Prism did a phenomenal job at orchestrating a night to remember for all that attended. Queer Prom offered students an opportunity to be themselves and dance the night away."

"Prism's 2018 Queer Prom was the organization's first large event in recent years," said NIU senior and Prism President Ronan Kaiser. "It was a chance for LGBTQIA+ folks from NIU and the Dekalb community to have a safe space to dance and enjoy the evening with their significant others and friends. Prism also crowned Prom Royalty which was voted upon by attendants of the dance. We are hoping to continue to host dances like Queer Prom at NIU.

"One of the main thoughts behind Queer Prom was that many queer students did not get to have a prom experience that they wanted to in high school," said NIU senior and Prism Vice President Gabriel Sonntag. "For example, I went to a Catholic school on the South Side of Chicago. We had to have an opposite-gender date and there was a strict dress code. Since I could not go stag or wear what I wanted, I did not go.

"We had a great turnout at the Queer Prom. We sold around 60 tickets despite it being Passover and Easter weekend. LGBTQ+ students as well as our allies attended. I think Queer Prom was more than just a dance for college students. It was a non-judgmental space for many attendees. They could bring whomever they wanted and wear whatever they wanted. Some people came dressed in formal wear while others were more casual attire. I liked Queer Prom because there was no pressure to conform or wear certain clothes."

"I attended my high school prom with a guy," said recent NIU graduate Sam Lanigan. "It was not a bad experience, but I did not have the opportunity to be my authentic self. So I was thrilled that NIU held a Queer Prom this year where I was able to attend with my fiancée Danielle. She was able to wear masculine clothes for the first time at an event and finally feel comfortable. This made me so happy for her. The best part about the event on the whole was being able to look around the room and know this was a safe space for all of us. It made graduating from NIU this spring even better because I know that I am leaving a place that creates safe spaces for many marginalized individuals."

"We at Prism were so honored to be able to hold Queer Prom at NIU this Spring," said NIU Assistant Professor and Prism Faculty Advisor Katy Jaekel. "While events that center queer individuals are becoming more common, that night, many people shared that this was the first time they had ever been able to attend an event that not only centered queerness, it celebrated it. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to celebrate and experience this event together."

A number of other entities across the country have held Queer Proms over the years. This year the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago celebrated its 13th annual Queer Prom while the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective ( Connecticut ) held its 24th annual Queer Prom. Buzzfeed has also hosted two Queer Proms—last year in Los Angeles and this year in New York City.

Lambda Legal, the ACLU and GLAAD have released information for LGBTQ students so they know their rights and will be able to challenge their school or school district on their discriminatory policies around prom attendance.

See www.lambdalegal.org/know-your-rights/article/youth-dances, www.aclu.org/files/assets/Prom_Rights.pdf and www.glaad.org/publications/promkit for more information.


This article shared 2034 times since Wed Jun 20, 2018
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Illinois high schoolers distribute anti-LGBTQ+ survey
2021-10-23
At Anna-Jonesboro Community High School in Anna, Illinois, a student group calling itself the "Anti-Queer Association" distributed a survey asking others if they think "queers" should be allowed to use the school restroom with "normal people," ...


Gay News

On Spirit Day, celebrities and others reach LGBTQ+ youth around the world
2021-10-22
--From a press release. Video below - New York, NY, Friday, Oct. 22, 2021 - Yesterday, GLAAD celebrated Spirit Day, when participants around the world wear purple or go purple online in a united stand against bullying and show of support for LGBTQ ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Foster-parent case, stars speak out, Texas youth, 'Queer Eye,' HIV
2021-10-17
Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Lambda Legal, together with the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along ...


Gay News

Donations needed for LGBTQ+-affirming spiritual leader's recovery
2021-10-12
In July, Sofia G. Sarabia—an activist and community leader who provided spiritual counseling to LGBTQ+ youth and undocumented immigrants—suffered an unexpected stroke that injured her brain and left her immobile and unable to speak or eat. ...


Gay News

HRC marks National Coming Out Day with new resource for youth
2021-10-11
On Oct. 11, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is commemorating the 33rd annual National Coming Out Day (NCOD) by announcing the release of a new resource, "Online Communities and LGBTQ+ Youth." "National Coming Out Day exists ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Victory Institute, LGBTQ books, youth items, NASA, LGBTQ Nation
2021-10-10
LGBTQ Victory Institute and nine additional candidate-training organizations announced a partnership with Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, to provide a native-to-mobile tool to encourage young people to run for office, a press release noted. ...


Gay News

Texans protest anti-trans youth measures at capitol in Austin
2021-10-03
GLAAD and Equality Texas issued a release highlighting a week of protest at the Texas state capitol in Austin—where measures targeting transgender children are being considered during the legislature's third special session of the year. Three ...


Gay News

Crystal Lake's Raue Center for the Arts opens new school
2021-09-27
On its 20th anniversary, the Crystal Lake, Illinois-based nonprofit organization Raue Center for the Arts has launched a new school. Raue Center School for the Arts (RCSA) will provide youth and adult classes in a wide ...


Gay News

Indiana students sue over gay-straight club's alleged treatment
2021-09-24
In Pendleton, Indiana, a group of Pendleton Heights High School students has filed a lawsuit against the school and South Madison Community School Corporation over allegations that the school has been treating its Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) ...


Gay News

OPALGA+ Scholarship Gala taking place Oct. 23
2021-09-21
The 2021 OPALGA+ (Oak Park Area Lesbian & Gay Association+) Scholarship Gala will take place Saturday, Oct. 23, at Nineteenth Century Club, 178 Forest Ave., Oak Park. Cocktails will begin at 6 p.m., with the program/dinner ...


Gay News

[UPDATE] Lisle school offers job to lacrosse coach in same-sex marriage
2021-09-21
The administration at Lisle’s Benet Academy, a west suburban Catholic school, has reversed course and offered a job to a woman in a same-sex marriage after initially rescinding the offer, The Chicago Tribune reported. ...


Gay News

Students urged to apply for Musical Theatre Awards
2021-09-14
Broadway in Chicago is inviting high schools across Illinois to participate in the 11th Annual Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards. These awards celebrate excellence in high school theater throughout the state. Beginning Thursday, Sept. 16, ...


Gay News

Virginia school district settles with Gavin Grimm
2021-08-28
A Virginia school district that discriminated against a transgender individual by making him go to the bathroom in a converted supply closet will have to pay $1.3 million in attorney's fees and other costs accrued over ...


Gay News

Report features eight Illinois child-welfare agencies working with HRC Foundation
2021-08-26
--From a press release - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released a new report ...


Gay News

Campus Pride names one Illinois school to 'Best of the Best' list
2021-08-26
Campus Pride chose 30 schools this year for the 2021 Best of the Best LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges & Universities List. This list is based on the campuses overall ratings on the Campus Pride Index and specific LGBTQ-inclusive ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.