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Casey Sharkey

Andrea Malouf
Analysis Essay

History of the Queer Prom

The Queer Prom is a very important event for LGBT individuals. It provides a sense of
community, acceptance, and a place for these individuals to enjoy who they are and express
themselves without hate or rules holding them back. Obviously the Queer Prom did not just
happen. A lot of work was put into the events that unfolded the idea or the prom. Laws had to
be fought, and Human and Civil Rights had to be declared. The most important aspect of the
prom is people identifying in the LGBT community have a social event all for themselves that
they most likely did not get to experience throughout their high school experience, and for most
people, high school is a very big aspect in a persons social life. Some individuals miss out on
experiencing the positive events from high school that most will remember for a very long time,
because of who they are, what they identify themselves as, etc. The prom is a way to celebrate
and support these young members of the community. First, lets take a few steps back and
remember events that happened in the past to lead us in the right direction.

During the 1940s the Gay Rights, and the LGBT movements were put to action. Before
this time, basic human rights were denied to LGBTQ individuals and they experienced extreme
struggles and hate. They were denied housing, and jobs. Police brutality towards gays were also

a common issue until later years. The earliest date that LGBTQ rights were brought up and
fought for was in 1924 when the Human Resource Department was contacted for the unfair and
inhumane ways people in the LGBTQ community were being treated, and they declared civil
rights for gays. Isnt that crazy? Civil Rights for human beings had to be fought for just because
of their preferences were different from most. Now, even though they had civil rights, that did
not mean that hate crimes ended and their lives were easier. After the fight for civil rights, the
fight for Equal Rights started. Equality for everything, the right to privacy, personal autonomy,
and freedom of expression and association. Even to this day there are laws that deprive
individuals from the LGBT community from having the same rights as others, such as marriage.
It was in fact in the 1940s where groups started forming and bringing awareness and action to
the rights the LGBT community deserved. These groups put together were for people who still
struggled because of their identity. Little did they know then, through all the hardships and letdowns the groups had to take, the butterfly effect would bring change and awareness.

The 1970s were the years where gay rights were starting to become an issue to fight for.
They first started off as people meeting up and planning events and marches, but then it opened
up on a more personal level for some. Schools started groups that individuals could identify
with and have a sense of community. These groups started off on (mainly) college campuses.
These events were referred to as the Gay Liberation Fronts which started making organizations
on campuses where gay rights literature was handed out, organized events, and lectures were
provided for students. It provided a community to identify with for these students, and it was a
big deal and a big step in the Gay Rights Movement because schools were allowing these
controversial groups to gather and express. They not only gathered to support each other, but in

hopes to educate others as well. The Gay Liberation Fronts act sparked many different ideas and
clubs all over the world in many schools, it started spreading to high schools and even middle
schools. The most popular was the Gay-straight Alliance where LGBTQ students had a safe
environment at school where they could find support from peers around them, whether they were
LGBTQ or straight. Although there were clubs and groups the LGBTQ community could attend
and be a part of, there were still restrictions on school provided social events like dances. Most
schools did not allow same sex couples to go to a dance together. School boards, faculty,
parents, and others thought of same sex dates at dances were inappropriate, and many other harsh
criticism was involved.

During the start of the 1990s, a group got together called the Queer Nation. This
groups main purpose was to eliminate homophobia. They marched and protested and educated
the homophobic idea of AIDS. They went to major cities to share their cause and many people
supported and joined their marches and protests. This group was the first to take the negative
cultural norms of the term queer and turn it into something positive. Their slogan became
Were here. Were Queer. Get used to it. The term queer became an important social and
intellectual identity to not only gays and lesbians, which had been primarily used for the two, but
to bisexual and transgendered people as well.

As I stated above, although there were organizations which fueled the LGBTQ rights to
move forward, there were, and still are some issues such as same sex couples at school dances.
It had been a struggle for years. Same sex couples had been barricaded outside of their schools

by security officers, refusing to let them go inside. Actions like these were fought against for
many years and laws were enforced to allow and protect these students to attend these events. It
was recognized that same sex date bans on high school dances violates a 1980 court ruling that
stated same sex dates to school dances are not only protected by the constitution, but schools
must take extra steps to ensure the students safety at the events. After this event, Federal Court
Rulings were also set in place that any Denial goes against The Right to Free expression which is
the 1st Amendment. Out-dated and unnecessary laws that could go against the freedom of
expression amendment were also changed such as, boys can only wear tuxedos and girls are only
allowed to wear dresses. These changes do not only allow same-sex couples to attend school
dances, but gives them the right to express themselves and wear whatever fits who they are.

Anti-Prom is a term that schools use as a designated dance that almost boycotts the
idea of traditional school dances. Students dress crazy, its not fancy, but its a really good time
where these kids can unwind and have some fun. The idea of the Queer Prom is exactly like this
idea, except an organization (which in our case, the Utah Pride Center) sets up a designated
dance for the LGBT community, and others involved, can have their own unofficial prom
without all the dress codes, and rules. They can have their own special night, just like any other
regular teenager, but without the negative aspects they could experience at a high school prom.
It is designed for the rejected and date-less individuals can have a fun activity to attend without
all the high school judgement and expectations. Although the right to take same-sex couples to
high school dances is a protected law, it was recognized that there can still be negative aspects of
the LGBTQ community attending social events such as these dances.

Queer Proms started popping up in the 90s while public schools were still denying the
right to allow same-sex couples. Even though laws were made to allow same-sex couples, queer
proms continue to be a popular event. They are protected to ensure no hate crimes or protesting
can ruin the atmosphere of social difference and solidarity. Because it is not a school funded
event, the dress code, and rules allow freedom of expression. The ages range from 14 to 20. All
kinds of people are invited to show an accepting community of people, no cliques, social groups,
or statuses.

Overall there have been many historical events that brought the ability to have a Queer
Prom for the public available, most of them have been unpleasant but change cannot happen if
there is nobody fighting for it.
(1997.) 2015 Equality Federation. Pixels & Pulp. Webmeadow

This website gives details about the changes that have occurred over the years to allow LGBT
freedom. It gives historic events in which we have achieved those goals.