On March 21, the Sexuality and Gender Alliance organization held their annual Second-Chance Prom at 8 p.m. in Sykes Student Union. This event allows members of the LGBTQ+ community a second chance at their big night to make it all they had hoped for it in high school.
I had the opportunity to sit down with the organization’s President, fourth-year student Jayson Lutrario, about the motivation and planning behind this event. Upon entering the Center for Student Involvement on the second floor of Sykes, I was immediately welcomed by an overflowing room of friendly faces and warm smiles. I was able to learn a lot about the organization and the community that belongs to it in just a short interview.
The Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) is a student-run organization that offers many different programs, including educational sessions and events such as the Second-Chance Prom. This event is typically held in Sykes 10-A and 10-B, a smaller space, as a way to keep it more personal. To plan the event, SAGA has a prom committee to coordinate the theme, designs and catering. The prom is promoted to members of the organization to give the community the chance to have a special night filled with love, acceptance and familiarity.
“I met all my friends through this organization,” says Lutrario. “It’s a good way to connect with other LGBTQ+ members and to make friends that may not be in your major but are in your lifestyle.”
When I asked Lutrario what advice he would give to someone who may be hesitant or reluctant to speak out about their identity, he suggested to simply talk to someone with that identity and ask them how they became comfortable speaking out about it. He also suggested asking about how they learned to navigate in situations in which they think they shouldn’t be out.
It allows people to create a new and happy memory in a place that may have been a negative one.
“It’s just about connecting with people and learning how to be proud,” he states.
I was also lucky enough to get the perspective of a student who attended SAGA’s Second-Chance Prom. Sophomore student Hannah Barras shared a lot with me about the event and her thoughts regarding it, as well as SAGA as a whole. She points out that sometimes, members of the LGBTQ+ community may feel estranged from society because of their sexual orientation. “Being apart of this community is something to be proud of, and SAGA creates a positive atmosphere in which members can be recognized, respected and appreciated. It allows their voices to be heard.”
I love the idea behind this event because it allows people to create a new and happy memory in a place that may have been a negative one in high school. It gives them a sense of control in a place which they may have felt a lack of before,” she explains.
Barras explains that one of her favorite parts about the event was the Prom Royalty Voting. Three winners were elected and applauded. Barras described it as an uplifting and heartwarming moment: “I’m so glad I got to be a part of such a great event.”
Juliana McKee is a third-year majoring in media and culture with a minor in journalism. JM886634@wcupa.edu