Pacific University's Center for Gender Equity wants to provide relief from the COVID-19 crisis with a digital celebration of the LGBTQ community this week.
On Saturday, May 2, the Forest Grove-based center will host a Quarantine-Friendly Queer Prom on the video conferencing platform ZOOM. The celebration will also include a positivity campaign on Instagram.
"A lot of LGBTQ individuals right now are, unfortunately, stuck in kind of hostile environments where they can't be out and just have a general separation from their community that a lot of times keep them sane," said Pacific's Center for Gender Equity projects coordinator Cal McCarthy. "So, we thought it was really important to keep those events going, to have that space to just have this positive affirmation of identities."
The event is free and open to the public. To join the Zoom dance party, visit https://pacificu.zoom.us/j/93937136135.
At first, organizers expected about 150 participants at the event, McCarthy said. But, with students sent home, the center has lowered its expected attendance count to around 50 people.
McCarthy said it is important to have activities for people to participate in.
"A lot of technological insecurities that people have, where either they don't want to have their face on camera… or they just don't have access to stable internet access," McCarthy explained. "This way, they can still have that connection and visibilities, without any insecurities."
Organizers are still trying to figure out how the prom will work virtually, but hope it can be a special experience for students.
"Prom is typically a very heteronormative event. It's (often) taken away from trans and same-sex individuals in high school," McCarthy said. "So, it's originally an event that gives older individuals a chance to indulge in this soft love and romantic love celebration that they often don't get."
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