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Utah teens prepare for alternative ‘Queer Prom’

May 13, 2018

In this Saturday, May 12, 2018, photo, Lauren Zamora-Kelso takes a group photo with Patrick Ferlin, Cassie Seikkula, and Jess Zamora-Kelso at a queer prom in Logan, Utah. The second annual alternative prom in Logan designed to make LGBTQ students feel comfortable is being organized by teenagers this time and will be called Queer Prom, the Herald-Journal reports. (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP)

LOGAN, Utah (AP) — The second annual alternative prom in Logan designed to make LGBTQ students feel comfortable was organized by teenagers this time and was called “Queer Prom.”

Oliver Wesley, the son of Logan Pride Foundation President Rikki Wheatley-Boxx, was on the planning committee for this year’s prom, which was held Saturday. He said there’s a push, among younger generations, to reclaim the word “queer.”

“It’s something my parents’ generation grew up with as an insult,” Wesley said. “Now, we see it as something beautiful and to be proud of.”

Wesley said queer also is a more inclusive term, because it includes anyone who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, asexual, or any other group under the umbrella of the different versions of the LGBT acronym.

Wesley, who is transitioning from female to male, said this prom is especially meaningful to him.

“This will be my first year going as someone who knows who they are,” Wesley said. “I found myself in the space between last Queer Prom and now.”

The prom was organized by three different LGBT organizations in Cache Valley: the Cache Pride Center (previously known as the Cache Youth Resource Center), the Logan Pride Foundation, and LGBTQ+ Coffee, The Herald Journal reported .

Blue Inessa of LGBTQ+ Coffee said events like queer prom are important to LGBT teens, especially in Utah and rural communities,

“Queer Prom is a way of saying, hey, you’re valued and we see you, all of you,” Inessa said. “All of your gayness, all of your transness, all of your queerness. You can express that here and have that gateway moment of a prom.”

Jess Zamora-Kelso, director of the Cache Pride Center, said Queer Prom is just one of many ways the nonprofit works to support LGBT youth in the valley. The organization also works to connect youth with resources for homelessness, mental health, hunger, or any other basic unmet needs.

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Information from: The Herald Journal, http://www.hjnews.com

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