Pride Proms have been increasing in popularity each year across the country. More and more communities are recognizing the ever-increasing need to provide a safe prom experience for LGBTQ youth. In general, a Pride Prom is a community event that allows high school students to proudly attend prom, dress however they are most comfortable, and dance - without fear - with whomever they choose. This year marks Montgomery County's fourth Pride Prom and it was held Saturday, May 11, 2019 in a beautifully appointed ballroom at Norbeck Country Club in Olney, Maryland. The Prom's theme, "At the Hop," was chosen by the kids this year and helped set the tone for amount of dancing and fun that took place.
Committee co-chairs, Janine Rauscher from the MoCo LGBTQ Youth Forum and Brad Benton from MoCo Pride Center, were excited to see the increasing interest in MoCo's Pride Prom and its continued growth. This year Pride Prom nearly double in attendees from last year to 90 kids from around the county. Their twenty dollar admission tickets included a professional shuttle from metro if needed, a grab-bag of goodies, and catered food and beverage matching the Prom's 50's theme, including: sliders, mac n'cheese, french fries, and chicken strips. Attendees were then treated to an ice cream bar with all the fixings, just as if there were at a soda shoppe. "Norbeck Country Club was so welcoming and did a great job in providing food that not only fit the theme but that the kids would totally enjoy," says Rauscher, "This year's prom was bigger and better than before, but we still maintained the same admission price -- that was important in our planning process."
Donned with glow bracelets they received at registration, the kids hit the dance floor to the sounds from DJ 'Zo, who returned once again to spin the tunes the kids wanted to hear. Song from different decades were just as diverse as the kids stomping to their beats. "It was great," says Benton, "I think the only time the dance floor was empty was when we cleared it to do the prize-drawing. The kids danced all night!"
In between dancing, kids could take a break from the noise and get their picture taken out in the hallway by professional event photographer, David Asche, or they could order a "blackberry lime rickey" from the bartender at the mocktail bar, who just happened to be MoCo Pride Center member of the Board of Directors, John Grimes. Grimes, decked out in his best 50's attire, returned again this year after a huge success of the mocktail station from last year.
This year's MoCo Pride Prom could not have been the success it was without the support of the community through individual donations and generous sponsors. The MoCo Pride Center and the MoCo LGBTQ Youth Forum would like to thank Wegmans, Rockville United Church, Montgomery County Council of PTAs, and our platinum level sponsor, Visa. We are so proud to partner with Visa to support this year's MoCo Pride Prom. Thank you, Visa, for being so inclusive and accepting everyone, everywhere.
Most of the adult chaperones present probably had their favorite part of the Prom, but they would all agree what was the most powerful. At the end of the night, a newly dubbed anthem for the LGBTQ community, "This is Me" from the movie The Greatest Showman, started and the kids on the dance floor held hands in one big circle to recite the lyrics. The song belts out: "Look out 'cause here I come. And I'm marching on to the beat I drum. I'm not scared to be seen, I make no apologies, this is me!"
About MoCo Pride Center
Established in 2017, the MoCo Pride Center is a 501(c)(3) organization designed to serve the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) community and its allies in Montgomery County, Maryland. We strive to be the leading organization for LGBTQ resources and advocacy in our county. Our mission is to organize, support, educate, and provide outreach to the LGBTQ community and its allies.
The MoCo Pride Center will be built to:
Promote dignity and respect for all individuals;
Encourage authenticity and honesty in self-expression;
Connect community members and create a network of support for youth, adults, and families;
Organize and engage the LGBTQ community and our allies to build a movement to advance the rights, dignity and respect of all members of our community
Follow us on social media at @mocopridecenter For questions or comments, please email firstname.lastname@example.org