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Gay-Straight Alliance Prom Planned for Saturday in Manassas

The prom is open to lesbian, gay, straight, transgender and bisexual high school students in Northern Virginia. Students must have permission from their parents to attend.

The Bull Run Unitarian Universalists Church in Manassas is gearing up for an event this weekend that organizers say allows gay, straight and transgender teenagers to express themselves freely without fear of ridicule.

The church, in partnership with the Gay-Straight Alliance of Prince William County, will host the fourth annual inclusive prom on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at the church.

Organizers are expecting around 100 teens to attend the prom this year, said Gail Dickert, one of the founding organizers of the event.

The first year, the prom was very small, but attendance more than doubled the second year, she said.

Not as many youth attended the third year, but Dickert said they are expecting a bigger crowd on Saturday because local gay straight alliance members reached out to gay straight alliances in schools in Fairfax County.

This year’s prom theme is, "Set Fire to Shame" and is meant to address and deter the bullying of gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual youth.

Dickert said Saturday’s event is a place where all children will be safe to express themselves without fear of being bullied or picked on by others.

A limited number of adults are allowed to attend the event and security will be present to protect the youth, she said.

No protesters have shown up at the event in the last three years, Dickert said.  The hope is this year will disturbance free, too, she added.

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican-themed dinner is planned for 6 p.m. and at 7:30, a special show will be shown upstairs in the church sanctuary.

Organizers said prom goers should come ready to dance and make song requests.

Tickets are $20 and are available for purchase at the event.  Organizers  encourage prom-goers to purchase tickets in advance, as only 125 people are allowed to attend.  To buy an advance ticket, email Crystal Chesher at cheshercrystal@yahoo.com.

The church is located at 9350 Main St. in Old Town Manassas.

Ron Donaghe May 02, 2012 at 01:05 PM
I have a lot of love in my heart for the Unitarian Universalists, and I see here that they're working another heartfelt miracle in the midst of an area where anti-gay bias is strong. During one of my own darkest times, I turned to the UUs in my area by attending the UUs church. I have never met so many diverse, thoughtful, interesting, and just plain loving people in my life.
Mike Shaft May 02, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Great comment on the UUs. As a gay Unitarian, I wonder why having an alliance prom should be necessary. Part of me thinks gay guys and gals should grow some balls and crash the regular prom at their school with their same sex date. I just think having a "separate but equal" prom is unfortunate and wonder if the evening would really be as nice in a church setting as it would be in a country club or other fancy venue paid for by the jocks and the chicks. However, if I were 16 again and could take a guy I really liked, maybe having prom at a Sonic with my friends would be better than taking yet another fat girl to prom while lusting over the guys in their tuxes.

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