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Utah Students Organize Queer Prom After State Passes Anti-Trans Bill

Jocelyn Anglesey

The students plan to continue organizing the event in the years ahead.  


Teens at a Utah charter school held a queer prom over the weekend. It came only a day after the state passed ant-trans legislation.

The event, which was held on Saturday, March 26, was open to pretty much any teen around the Ogden, Utah, school.

Seniors at DaVinci Academy of Science and the Arts have a project that must include solving a problem, reports local TV station KSL. For her project, Jocelyn Anglesey decided to focus on creating an LGBTQ-friendly prom.

"Dances have really heavy stigmas around them," Anglesey told the station before the prom. "A lot of schools don't even allow like same-sex couples to come in."

Held at the school's gym, the prom sought to help bring acceptance to teens who are marginalized.

"Kids need to be able to have a safe space that's monitored by parents and a place where they know that there is informational booths that they can talk to if they need anything," Anglesey said.

The event initially was planned for last year by Bliss Van Der Venter, who was a senior then. However, health restrictions prevented the prom from taking place.

"We are all very lucky to live here, and yet a lot of people don't get the privilege of feeling safe in their own homes, or at school," Van Der Venter said.

"I mentioned it one time to Jocelyn and she was like, 'that is the coolest thing ever. I want to do that so bad,' and she just took it and ran with it," Van Der Center added.

Anglesey told the station that she originally thought the event would be small. However, hundreds have sent in RSVPs.

"A lot of people [are] contacting me, telling me how excited they were that I was throwing something that they could come to," Anglesey said.

Anglesey and the organizers say they are happy to provide a welcoming event.

"Everyone needs that. No one should be reprimanded for who they are," Anglesey explained.

Utah lawmakers voted Friday to override Republican Gov. Spencer Cox's veto of anti-trans sports legislation that will ban trans youth from playing on girls' sports teams.

In his veto letter to lawmakers, Cox called attention to the mental health impact the law would have on trans youth.

The Utah governor shared the letter on Twitter. "I know most won't read past a headline but please read my veto letter--especially if you disagree with me. The veto will be overridden on Friday and then we will have a special session to fix a few things. Trans sports is a terribly difficult issue," he wrote. "Please be kind to everyone."

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