Annual Rainbow Prom brings spirit of love and acceptance to campus
THE SANTA CLARA
February 5, 2015
Some Broncos find a tight-knit community early on — in their freshman-level courses, within their sports teams, through their Greek organizations.
But some students struggle to find this sense of community that many Broncos so treasure here on campus. Sadly, for many LGBTQ students around the country, and yes, even here at Santa Clara, feeling a part of the big, happy student body family just isn’t a reality.
Enter Rainbow Prom 2015: Big Queer Party, a night where people of all genders and sexualities can feel free to enjoy a dance in a safe space and educate others on the LGBTQ experience.
“The goal is a big celebration of the LGBTQ community,” said Kristen Grewe, program coordinator of Gay and Straight People for the Education of Diversity, the organization that hosts Rainbow Prom. “Whether that’s those individuals celebrating themselves, allies celebrating that they exist or just celebrating our efforts to try and make Santa Clara more visibly accepting, we want to give people the opportunity they may not have gotten in high school.”
This aim stems from the high school students that inspired rainbow proms around the country. After two girls were prohibited from attending their prom together, such events began cropping up as a form of resistance and challenge against such strict gendered restraints.
Fast forward a few years, and Rainbow Prom at Santa Clara has become one of the most popular on-campus events of the year, complete with a DJ, a photo booth and hundreds of students filling Locatelli Activity Center to the brim. The semi-formal attire imitates a high school prom, but there is more to it than the limos and boutonnieres of years past.
“We decide with this event what we want to say to the community,” said Grewe. “We focus on queer empowerment, queer history, the queer movement and what it means to be queer on this campus and in the world.”
The educational element of Rainbow Prom, raising awareness for the struggles and ostracism often faced by the LGBTQ community and encouraging action by allies, is essential to the goals of GASPED. There are also efforts to break stereotypes.
“You can be queer and all the other things that make you a Bronco,” said Grewe. “We want to break down walls between LGBTQ and the rest of the community, because there’s not really a difference.”
Creating unity between the queer community and their allies is a key part of the vision of Rainbow Prom.
“I think it’s great that it’s a chance to learn about LGBTQ at our school from their perspective,” said Casey Carstens, a sophomore planning on attending for a second time. “It’s a dance for everyone, which is important, but it’s also a chance to be a better ally.”
This Friday, students will relish the opportunity to open their minds and hearts by hearing the voices and experiences of a diverse group of Broncos in the Santa Clara community. And while the spotlight will be on celebrating the diversity of our LGBTQ students, Grewe assures that all are equally welcome.
“In the end,” Grewe said, “we still want everybody to just come and dance their pants off.”
Contact Summer Meza at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.