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An LGBTQ+ 'Unity Prom' at Ohio's State House Is a Resounding Success

An LGBTQ+ 'Unity Prom' at Ohio's State House Is a Resounding Success

Unity Prom at Ohio State House

The queer community had itself a kiki at the Ohio State House and it was a blast.

Dozens of queer Ohioans came together at the Ohio State House over the weekend to dress up and dance at Unity Prom, an LGBTQ-centric gala event sponsored by the Columbus Lesbian and Gay Softball Association.

With a non-gender-specific prom court and performances from artists like Virginia West, the sold-out event was designed to provide a do-over for those who could not be themselves at prom.

Kaleidoscope Youth Center, which supports Ohio’s queer youth, will receive proceeds from Saturday’s event.

Over $10,000 was raised for the mission of Kaleidoscope, an organization that hosts its prom event, Other Prom, in May.

Many attendees thought the event was an opportunity to make their prom night perfect.

Various people attended, some dressed in ball gowns and harnesses, while others wore towering high heels and full drag outfits.

Cheryl Harrison, an organizer and member of CLGSA said the event aims to unite local LGBTQ+ organizations and encourage the community to support LGBTQ+ youth, the Columbus Dispatchreports.

More than 50 people were on the waiting list for the event, which saw 350 attendees.

Performances included drag queens West, Edna Mwah, and Maya Bizness; drag king Riley Poppyseed; and nonbinary drag performer Clinica Deprecious.

“I think it’s easy to get caught up in all of the stories and the news and to think we’re doomed,” one of the organizers, Keith Speers, told Columbus NBC station WCMH. “But I think there are many more people out here that believe that people should be able to live their lives as they are, love the people that they love.”

Those who went to the prom said it was meaningful for them since it was a more accepting experience than their own high school proms.

Julie Taylor told the Dispatch that she skipped her high school prom after feeling uncomfortable with what prom. She just hung out with friends instead.

"I was nervous, I'm not gonna lie. It kind of brings back those feelings," Taylor told the outlet. "(But) now as an adult ... I can come and still feel feminine, but wear a tuxedo jacket and a harness and show skin and not feel like I'm doing something wrong."

"Me and my lesbian date went together, and her girlfriend and my date went together. My date and I won prom king and queen, and we both danced with our dates," said attendee Matt Sliger. "It's different because when you go from being young to an adult, you slowly start to realize that other people's opinions don't actually matter about you. You get to be who you are 24/7, no matter what."

Organizers hope to continue the event in the future based on the success of this year’s event.

Ohio has been one of the epicenters of radical right-wing anti-LGBTQ+ extremism, with neo-Nazis recently descending upon a public park in Wadsworth, near Akron, to protest a Drag Queen Story Hour event.

Several hundred armed white supremacists and ultra-right-wing nationalists screamed at supporters who carried rainbow-colored umbrellas.

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