The Geneseo Pride Alliance held their annual Second Chance Prom in the Knight Spot on Saturday Oct. 22. Working alongside Geneseo Late Knight to bring the event to life, the group decked out the room with balloons, streamers and other classic prom decorations to give attendees the feeling of stepping into their prom night—with a few changes.
It is no secret that prom is considered a quintessential American experience and that there are high stakes involved—stakes that pressure the average teenager to carry prom out successfully—from finding the perfect dress to having the perfect slow dance. In American culture, prom is supposed to generate memories that one will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Adults and teenagers alike even see it as a threshold to coming-of-age.
But for some Geneseo students, the prom experience was imperfect from the start. Not everyone had the opportunity to take the person they wanted to prom because that person was the same gender or because at the time there was someone out there for them that they simply hadn’t met yet. Some students skipped their proms to circumvent the pressure that came along with the event or were uncomfortable with attending because they had to dress a certain way. Others simply couldn’t afford it.
Second Chance Prom exists to make these issues null and void and to give students the chance to reclaim their prom in whatever manner they see fit. Additionally, free admission and a GLK card stamp also prompted students to come.
Prom goers could bring any partner or none at all. Attire ranged from jeans to beautifully bedazzled dresses. Everyone was considered “prom royalty” and was provided with sashes that affirmed them as so. People gathered in rings to toss balloons and to erupt into wild dancing. The Macarena was just as acceptable as modern “club” dance moves.
There was no expectation for how students should act, apart from having respect to one another. “Look around,” Pride Alliance president history major sophomore Danny Kahl said. “Everyone is having so much fun without the pressure of ‘real prom.’ Everyone can just be themselves.”
Pride defines their meetings by the safety that they provide to students. This very purpose inspired the dance. Much like the meetings themselves, the Second Chance Prom was held not just for LGBTQ+ students, but also for students of any gender and sexuality. The diversity of the attendees reflected this idea.
“Pride holds a lot of importance to me,” chemistry and education major junior Danielle Weaver said. “But above all else, it is a place for me and many others to go to feel welcomed.”
“Many people, myself included, have found a family and entourage that I might not have found elsewhere,” Pride Alliance editorial board member pre-biology major sophomore Austin Ainsworth said.
Geneseo students who haven’t attended a Pride meeting could feel the club’s mission through the energy of the dance. Everyone was united by a single cause that cannot be defined through our society’s narrow confines of coming-of-age, gender or sexuality—to retake prom in a way that our high schools would have never dreamed of.