With many LGBTQ students not getting an accepting prom experience during high school, UIndy Pride, a Registered Student Organization at the University of Indianapolis, decided to host their inaugural Lavender Prom this semester on Feb. 11, according to senior history major and UIndy Pride Co-chair Mackenzie Deppe. They said the event was open to all LGBTQ students to give them a unique experience that they may not have gotten during high school.
“The idea for Lavender Prom was to essentially make a high school-esque prom, but specifically for queer students on campus,” Deppe said. “Obviously, the last two, three years, a lot of people didn’t get to have that experience. And a lot of queer students especially, probably didn’t get to go as their authentic selves, so we wanted to make the space for people to be able to do that.”
Many members of UIndy Pride and people on the board stressed that they wanted the opportunity to have a dance event for undergraduate LGBTQ students, senior art therapy major and UIndy Pride Co-chair Emma Warner said. She said that they decided on the name Lavender Prom for the event because the color lavender has been used historically to represent LGBTQ people. Warner said that this was the first year they were able to host it, but Pride members have expressed that they want to continue to host it in future years.
Deppe said that one of the biggest concerns that they discussed when planning this event was where they would have it, because they needed to make sure it was a safe space for the LGBTQ students who came. They ended up being able to hold Lavender Prom in the basement of Schwitzer Student Center.
“ … We were worried about both space, and to have the privacy aspects of it in case anyone should not want to be seen by people walking by,” Deppe said. “ … We knew from the beginning that we wanted it to be a queer space.”
Lavender Prom had three sections to it, all held in the basement, according to Deppe, as they said that the event had a music and dance area, a snack area and a photo area. They said the organization has been planning this event since December, spending about two months deciding what to include at the event.
Making sure the event stayed within the community was another important aspect of planning Lavender Prom. The dance event was a no-ally space, and Warner said that they did this so that LGTBQ students could completely be themselves.
“For this, it [being no-ally] was something both for safety and also just for people’s security, because when you have that big group of people, it can feel the same way that you don’t feel safe to be yourself. So for this space, it felt important,” Warner said. “I think all of our other events are ally welcoming. Just that one, we felt that it was important to have that just within the community.”
Most Pride events welcome all, as the organization is open to both members of the community and allies at UIndy, Deppe said. They said if an event is a no-ally space, Pride will specify that.
“Generally, our only rule is that whatever and whoever is at Pride stays there, and that’s it. Otherwise, we just have fun and enjoy our time together,” Deppe said. Pride meets weekly, and if students want to know where events are happening, Warner said they should follow their Instagram @uindy_pride. If students have any questions about the organization, they can email at firstname.lastname@example.org.