Second Chance Prom provides opportunity for authentic self-expression

Geneseo Pride Alliance hosted Second Chance Prom on Saturday Oct. 24 with the theme of “Neon Knights.” The event presented the opportunity for students to redo prom or make up for a prom experience they never had during high school.

“It was pretty crowded and people were having a good time. It was a chance to give people an opportunity to do prom their way,” Pride Alliance event coordinator junior Jade Brown said. “A lot of people haven’t had the luxury of that experience; going to prom with whomever they want to go with, presenting themselves the way that feels the most comfortable.”

Despite today’s societal standards encompassing the most progressive view toward LGBTQ+ issues and rights in American history, many communities throughout the country remain set in ideologies that insist on dispiriting non-heteronormative practices.

Some school settings have majorities that make LGBTQ+ students feel uncomfortable with presenting their sexualities and genders openly. Some high schools will even go so far as to include in their codes of conduct a ban on public displays of affection—with particular emphasis on homosexual acts—that contest conventional teachings of sexuality or do not accept gender identifications that are not cisgender. They may not even allow for accommodations such as gender-neutral bathrooms.

Pride Alliance recognizes that because of such issues and societal constraints in place in their hometowns, many students may not have been able to attend prom the way they so desired. Whether that was the result of a lack of LGBTQ+ acceptance, the ability to present oneself as their true gender identities at the time or a shunning of prom altogether, Geneseo students were all able to come together in a night of unity and fun with Second Chance Prom. With an event that imitated a high school promenade, all sexualities and gender identities were welcome to join the festivities, have fun and celebrate themselves and one another.

Second Chance Prom proved successful—as it has in previous years—with students appearing beyond delighted in the neon paint-splattered décor, glow-in-the-dark balloons and candy-filled mason jars. Attending students were encouraged to dress however fancy or casual—and as in or out of the “Neon Knights” theme—as they wished.

“I feel really grateful that so many people showed up,” Brown said. “It was such a diverse group and it was clear that everyone was there to support each other and each other’s identities.”