Gay & Lesbian Services of Western New York

Attending your Senior Prom with a Same Sex Date

My Senior Prom is in a couple months and I would like to go. What do you think about going with a same sex date?

If you were attending the Harvey Milk School (a NYC high school for GLBT students) this would not be an issue at all. But living in WNY, there are some things to consider. The Prom or Senior Dance is supposed to be the last big social event of your high school experience. It should be fun and memorable, not necessarily a political statement or your first coming out moment to the entire senior class and student body. I understand that you might want it to be a real experience and, if you are dating, you probably want to be with your partner.

Things to consider and/or do:

1. Are you or your date “out” in the school environment? The Prom is not a place to hold a coming out party! Your date must be OK with the idea!

If you are “out” at school then;

2. If possible, inform your parents or a trusted adult of your plans to enlist their help in anticipating and planing for any consequences. If you are not “out” to your parents, consider that the public exposure prior to or at the Prom may “out” you to them as it will probably get back to them.

3. Consider letting the school administration know of your plans to bring a same sex date. Start by talking to a trusted teacher or the guidance counselor. Ask if a same sex couple attending the Prom would be a first for your school. If you are the first, be prepared to address the school’s concerns about your safety. The school can then deal with security measures or student education on their part. They may not want to have to deal with the issue but ultimately it is up to you, as are any consequences, good or bad.

4. Be sure to get the support of friends, this is crucial. Let them know that you are bringing a same sex date. Plan activities with them both before and after the Prom and sit with them at the Prom. This will provide support for you and your date and allow you to have fun with your group.

5. Stay near people and in lit areas. Hate crimes continue to occur and at a Prom where some may be altered by either drugs or alcohol, and inhibitions are lowered, the risks are real. Taking precautions is just smart!

6. Realize that you and your date will be stared at and talked about. Keep your focus on you and your date and having a good time with your friends.

7. Consider contacting the local PFLAG chapter. They may be able to help you prepare your parents and the school administration.

8. If your parents and the school understand that you have thought through and planned for your safety they will be perhaps in a better position to support you.

If you are not “out” at school, then let your group know that you want to attend with a friend. You can dance all but the slow dances as part of the group and still share the evening’s experience.

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