Take a Look Back: Gay at the Prom

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com June 20 2012 5:00 AM ET

Whether you were the prom queen, the guy hanging out by the punch bowl, or one of the prom rebels who ditched the event for a better time, many of us have a prom story.

We asked our readers to share their favorite memories of the biggest high school party of the year. What we got were tales of long-term love, some embarassing fashion choices, and some serious good times.

Celeste Padilla, 2004: I am a lesbian from a small town in Texas called Lyford. In 2004, my senior year of high school, my fiancée and I attended our senior prom together. We had been a couple for six months and were not only the first openly gay couple at prom, but also the first openly gay couple at our high school. We had a great time and were fortunate enough not to have been discriminated against. After we graduated, several other students came up to me to say I encouraged them to be open about themselves. I am now a recent law school graduate who hopes to continue to change the world, one perspective at a time. Here we are, my fiancée and me at our high school prom in 2004. I am the one in the pink dress, and my fiancée, Davina Vasquez, is the one in the tuxedo.


Diego Ventura Castro and Vincent Morana, 2012


Misty, 1994: My cousin Harley (in the shoulder-cutout green machine) and I (in the skin-tight black and form-hugging pearls) have been BFFs since our early teens. We also always liked to push every boundary we could find! So when my junior prom rolled around in 1994, we decided to go together. (Neither of us is gay, though you'll never know two more pro-gay straight people in the world.) Partly for shock value, but partly because we were daring anyone to say anything to us about who we were and what we stood for. We did it up right too — limo, corsages, pictures, dinner at Sizzler! To this day, it's one of my favorite stories and memories. I still say we were ahead of our time.



Michael Warwick, 1989: I was given the jacket by my grandfather, who bought it for a cruise in the '60s. I made my date, Sarah Harlin, buy a dress to match. What you don't see is the top hat I wore on the way to the event. And we had no idea we would match the photographer's curtain,too.


Lisamarie Babik, 1986: That's me, on the left, dressed like a vestal virgin who's ready to be thrown into a volcano — complete with requisite braided rattail. On the right is my prom date from the Land of the Giants, Scott Taylor.

People in the front office at school decided he should ask me to go. I was so freaked out about going to prom with this guy, my psychiatrist actually prescribed Valium. I spent the entire prom hiding in the bathroom — the only place he couldn't follow me — because every time I set down my bouquet he would pick it up and say, "Do you know how much I paid for this?"

Umm. No?

I was also a vegetarian and dinner was prime rib. I clearly recall telling the waiter to "get this bloody chunk of meat off my plate."

I was so stressed out, all night I was popping Valium like Tic-Tacs. By the end of the evening there was absolutely no filter on my mouth and you could have poured me out of the car — which made things a little tricky passing through Customs. (Our prom was held in Canada. Why? I wish I knew!)

To make things even more fun, when I left college and got my first job (many years later), my prom date ended up being my boss! I could have died, right there on the spot.


Lizzie, 2012: I'm a 17-year-old queer. I took my brother's girlfriend with me because she never got to go to her school prom. She was chased out of town, literally.


Jasmine and Corinne, 2009

Aaron Drake, 2004: This was taken at my husband Jake Drake's high school prom in Miamisburg, Ohio, during our senior year in 2004. I am on the left (in the white) and Jake is on the right (also in white). We are celebrating 10 years together this year, with four of those years legally married in the state of California. We were the only gay couple there — with our all-white tuxes and my overly waxed eyebrows. This photo was taken on the grand staircase facing the entire crowd at the prom. Besides being a bit intimidated, we were not really sure how two guys were supposed to pose for their prom photo, but I think we figured it out.