Queer prom

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Did you go to your school prom? Rachelle Foster speaks to the people reinventing it. Queer Prom is on the first night of Brighton Pride — and they are inviting members of the LGBTQIA+ community to ‘do it right, do it again, do it queer AF’.

It’s two weeks until Brighton Pride, which will shower the city with technicolour in this year’s ‘Colour my World’ theme. In keeping with the theme, Queer Prom's ‘Rainbow Ball’ is on Friday, 3 August. Queer Prom was set up in 2014 as an alternative to an incredibly alienating, heteronormative experience with no real space for people on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.

 “Queer Prom began as an event designed to rewrite people’s negative prom experiences within the LGBTQIA+ community, it has since evolved into something far greater,” says its creator Vicki Cook. “I think that living under a Conservative government has meant individuals in a position of power and privilege are given much more of a platform than minority groups. We have witnessed a resurgence of fascism on a grand scale, resulting in discrimination and inequality in all forms.”

 Vicki says that even within the LGBTQIA+ community there is still gross prejudice and discrimination, especially towards trans and non-binary people. She makes reference to the anti-trans protest led by Lesbian Rights Alliance at Pride in London recently. The group claim ‘trans-activism erases lesbians’ and wrote a letter to Stonewall calling to remove the ‘L’ out of LGBT.

“As a part of the queer community we can’t ignore the issues that have sought to divide us,” says Vicki. “By coming together and throwing a prom that will change people’s past experiences, we also want to invest to change people’s future and not only will we party the night away, but we will unite in solidarity.”

As a non-profit event, Queer Prom are raising money for projects and services that support the LGBTQIA+ community. Their main charity choice, Mermaids, does tremendous work to support transgender children and their families. They will also be fundraising for Brighton’s LGBTQ Disability project and there will be charity buckets on the night to raise funds for other local causes.

Vicki says she struggles to take the time to pause and bask in her achievements and good ideas, and to see their potential on a greater scale. Her partner Jules Haydon Guaitamacchi saw her vision and helped her to mould it into what it is now. “As well as this, Jules is a PR powerhouse,” she added. Together, they took Queer Prom to the mainstream media and said "Look! Look at this amazing thing that’s happening in Brighton". 

“Jules and I share the same passion and drive, and have skills that really complement each other which makes us such a good team,” says Vicki. There is no dress code for the night, but Vicki and Jules say, "it’s an opportunity to wear the outfit your heart always desired".

“Last year, people came dressed to the nines in Queer Prom realness, some people even had their own crowns and tiaras! Everyone looked like Queer royalty and we can’t wait to see what people wear this time,” says Vicki.

 Creators of Queer Prom, Vicki and Jules

Creators of Queer Prom, Vicki and Jules

 Queer Prom's ‘Rainbow Ball’ is on Friday 3 August. Tickets are available at patternsbrighton.com