The Kingston Youth Pride Council and Queen’s Faculty of Education Genders & Sexualities Alliance (GSA) are presenting Queer Prom on Saturday, June 8, 2019 from 7 to 10 p.m.
Queer Prom will be taking place at the Queen’s University Faculty of Education at 511 Union Street West, a fully accessible building with gender-neutral washrooms.
The event is free of charge and will have a clothing closet available for youth who may not be able to afford tickets or have access to formal wear.
“It’s more than just a dance, more than just a prom,” said lead organizer Kel Martin. There will be a resource fair happening in the hallways around the gym with 15 to 20 local community groups and organizations that benefit youth and queer youth.
The free event will also feature a live band, DJ, photo booth, art show, quiet space with board games, and a button making station run by the Queen’s faith and spirituality chaplains.
“We wanted to make it more of a holistic event that’s accessible to different types of youth. Not everybody wants to just go out and dance and party,” said Martin. “There are youth out there who just want to hang out, have some snacks, play some board games, meet a few people. We wanted to have that variety for that reason.”
The presence of faith and spirituality chaplains was a meaningful inclusion to the evening, according to Martin.
“It’s really nice seeing queer representation within faith communities,” Martin said.
While this is Kingston’s first queer prom for youth, Martin said that the event was getting a good deal of support from the community.
“Cake Cupboard donated a three-tier pride wedding cake,” he said with excitement.
“A thing I find is really difficult for queer people in general is having our own spaces, and I can’t imagine having to carve those spaces out and being young. Youth have so many other things to deal with,” Martin said. “I wanted to contribute to creating this space for them where they can just show up and enjoy themselves. That being said, the youth council has been doing incredible work on this project.”
The Kingston Youth Pride Council was established this year and all members are between the ages of 12 and 24.
“Historically, Pride has been aimed at adults 18 plus,” said Martin. “There was a need to create something that is not just for youth, but driven by youth.”
The youth council were involved “every step of the way,” Martin explained.
“All of the planning, organizing, and applying for things is done by youth,” he said. “We’re really proud to partner with them because of that.”
Martin said the collaborative project was a learning opportunity for all involved.
“It’s been an amazing experience. I’m really excited to see what happens,” said Martin.