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Tiffani Smith, a grad student and member of Ally, votes for the king and queen at Queer Prom, an event put on by Ally at Walter Rotunda on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2014.  (Emily Harger | File)

ALLY hosts ‘Queer Prom’ on Friday

Student group ALLY hosts annual ‘Queer Prom’ to throw a dance for those who did not have an ideal prom experience or anyone who just wants to have a good time. 

Dressing up, dancing and finding the perfect date — a lot of people’s best memories come from prom night.

But for a lot of LGBT-identified individuals, prom did not provide those same memories.

Ally, a student group that advocates and educates on LGBTQ rights and issues, is hosting Queer Prom on Friday, which is open for anyone to come as they wish and have a good time.

At the helm of the planning are two freshmen: Marisa Sheppard, studying business pre-law, and Taylor Lydy, studying social work.

The two said logistics have been the most difficult part of planning, but they just want everyone to have a safe place to have fun.

“Knowing that the university is backing (LGBT identified individuals) and them knowing they have a student body that is backing them … (is) something I want people to get out of this,” Sheppard. “Knowing they’re not alone.”

The theme of the night is “masQUEERade” and the décor will match. Snacks also will be provided. But Sheppard understands that not everyone is going to come in a floor-length ball gown or tuxes — that’s not the point.

Queer Prom will be held in Walter Hall Rotunda starting at 8 p.m. The event is free.

“My hope is that a lot of people that aren’t involved in LGBT (organizations or identifications) come,” Lydy said.

Jeaven Walters, a freshman studying integrated language arts, said she asked her girlfriend, Kelsey Glatter, a Michigan resident, over Skype because they are in a long distance relationship.

“I’m looking forward to just seeing the diversity, because when I went to prom it was pretty much exclusively straight couples,” Walters said. “I never saw a girl going with a girl or a guy going with a guy — I think that’s pretty cool.”

The two are eagerly anticipating to an addition prom experience.

“I’m looking forward to taking her because she never really had a date and neither did I,” Glatter said.

Ally is a group that meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the LGBT Center, Baker Center room 354. Lydy said the group works on fundraising and advocacy planning, but the main portion of meetings is devoted to discussion. Conversations, Sheppard said, range from various topics covering race, social injustice, sexuality and just everyday life.

“I think it’s made me way more open to talking to people,” Sheppard said. “I’ve realized now that we’re in a world inhabited by people, we’re who’s running it so if we’re not getting along, there’s a huge problem.”

With Queer Prom being one of its largest projects throughout the year, the two are excited to see how the night goes, and hopes others enjoy it.

“No matter the theme, the main goal is you want to be free to be whoever you want and wear whatever you want, it’s just going to be a judgment free zone,” Lydy said.

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