In high school, many students find it hard to fit in. Navigating school, dating, and figuring out who you are can be tough; especially for LGBTQ+ students during their teen years. PRISM, or the Gay Student Association, is a student organization dedicated to providing queer students with a safe and open place to feel heard on campus.
PRISM hosted a Pride Prom at 6 p.m., Wednesday April 14 in the Overman Student Center. This prom was organized to give those who didn’t feel safe in high school to be themselves or weren’t able to enjoy prom to have one of their own and celebrate who they are.
Wren Lowrey, biology junior and president of PRISM, said their biggest priority was giving queer students a place to feel comfortable in their own skin and just have fun.
“In high school a majority of kids feel like they can’t come out, and those that do are often bullied and ridiculed,” Lowrey said. “Attending prom should be an experience where you are able to dress how you want and enjoy yourself with friends and significant others without judgment, and Pride Prom was a do-over in a way.”
The dress code for this event was “anything” in order to allow students to dress however they wanted, regardless of gender identity or expression.
Morgan Cravens, one of the organizers of this event, agreed with Lowrey saying they wanted to create an event where LGBTQ+ students could experience the prom they’d never had and socialize with other queer students after the pandemic.
“It’s a time for LGBTQ+ people to have a positive prom experience in case they didn’t get to have one in high school,” Cravens said. “I know I’ve been looking for an excuse to get out of the house, and other people have too, so this event allowed that to happen in a safe way.”
Khadija Ceesay, sophomore in communications, was in attendance at this event and says she hopes Pitt State and PRISM will put on more events like this one in the future.
“Things like this are more important than people realize,” Ceesay said. “A lot of queer students don’t have a safe space to be themselves right now. Being in a living situation where family is unaccepting, especially during the pandemic, can be very difficult and lonely. Events like this can allow people to be open and meet other students like them with similar experiences.”
Lowry hopes the event showed members of the LGBTQ+ community at PSU that there is an organization for them.
“I know how isolating it is to try and figure out what your gender and sexual identity is,” Lowry said. “Then to compound that with attending a university where you don’t know if there are others experiencing the same trials is very isolating. PRISM has always been a safe space for our queer students at Pitt State, and we want everyone to know that they are welcome at PSU.”
If interested in joining the Gay Student Association, PRISM meets every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in the GRC in Axe Library basement or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.