Born This Way Prom by Tiffani Carcieri, Youth Pride Inc. Staff Member
Youth Pride, Inc. (YPI) members and staff once again had the pleasure of attending the the 9th Annual Born This Way Prom hosted on April 27 at the Rotunda Ballroom at Easton’s Beach in Newport, RI. This exciting event is open to all interested students and youth, free of charge, from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. The Born This Way Prom is an opportunity for students who may not feel comfortable attending their own prom to experience a night of music, dancing, and fun while being their authentic selves. Despite abstaining from publicly advertising the event, and instead allowing the news to travel by word of mouth alone for the purpose of staying within reasonable attendance limits, the prom hosted 218 youth from 31 different schools across Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Drag Queen performances were presented by Miss Anita Toppings, Miss Gia Deveroux, Miss Jacqueline Dimera, and Miss Vi’let Laboss.The MC was John Kelley. All of these outstanding individuals are from the LGBTQ community in Providence. Members of the Imperial Court of RI were in attendance along with Mr. Gay RI 2017 Tim Rondeau and Ms. Lesbian RI 2017 Ashley Delgado. State Senator Dawn Euer of Jamestown and Newport has continually attended the prom since 2011. The most highly anticipated point of the night was the crowning of prom king and queen.Youth Pride Inc. youth have won the titles of King and Queen for the past two years, and this year was no different. YPI youth Aileen, age 16, was crowned King and their significant other Esme, age 14, was crowned Queen. Current YPI staff member Jesus Holguin was one of the first crowned Kings in Born This Way Prom history. Funding for the prom is attained through the generosity of several donors. Drag Queen troops, such as The Imperial Court of RI, host fundraisers throughout the
Options | June/July 2018
Prom King Aileen, age 16 (left), with Prom Queen Esme, age 14 (right)
year and donate the proceeds to support the prom. Newport Out, a locally based travel agency that promotes Newport events and tourism to the LGBTQ community, is another active donor.This year Newport Out donated the proceeds from the opening performance of Call Me by Your Name at the Jane Pickens theater to fund several vans used to transport youth from Youth Pride Inc. to the prom. The Born This Way Prom is organized by Interweave, an inclusive group operating out of Channing Memorial Church in Newport. Interweave serves LGBTQ individuals and their allies while simultaneously upholding Unitarian Universalist values. Youth Pride Inc. has a long-standing relationship with Interweave and by extension, the Born This Way Prom. Many youth are impacted by stigma surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.These youth may not feel comfortable or safe bringing their date, or presenting in the way they
feel most themselves, at a more traditional high school prom. In some cases, bringing a same-sex date may not even be allowed. Everyone deserves to have a special prom night they can look back on fondly. YPI is excited to continue this partnership with Interweave, and to dance the night away again next year. For more information about Interweave, visit www.facebook.com/ InterweaveCMC. don’t grow up invisible
Youth Pride Inc. Youth Pride Inc. provides support, education and advocacy for LGBTQQ young people ages 13-23. Our Drop-in Center is at 473 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903. Visit www.youthprideri.org, email info@youthprideri. org, or call (401) 421-5626 for more info.
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