Music rumbled through campus and beach balls flew overhead as students in dazzling dresses and suits took to the dance floor at SF State’s first Pride Prom in the Cesar Chavez Student Center Feb. 11.
The goal of the event, hosted by Student Services, Queer Alliance, Pride Committee, Everything Great About You and the University housing’s LGBT club, was to unify the LGBT community and its allies on campus in a safe, open environment.
“Pride prom is about loving who you are, not covering up,” said Pablo Ramirez, music education major and director of events for Queer Alliance. “I’m happy to have been able to share that with everyone.”
Many students saw Pride Prom as an outlet for self-expression that is not often allowed in other social situations.
“I’m here because my beautiful boyfriend asked me to prom,” said theater major Rusty Maldonado, who was also celebrating his one-year anniversary with boyfriend Nick Johnson. “It’s just beautiful. I’ve never been able to be so loud and free in my life and feel such a unity of peace and love.”
More than 200 people sent RSVPs to the event via Facebook and approximately 500 people checked in throughout the night.
Many allies of the LGBT community also attended in support of the community.
“It is important to spread the word that straight, gay, lesbian or transgender, all students deserve the right to an equal education and to be amongst their peers in a social setting without being mistreated,” said sociology major Georgina Guardado.
The event featured two disc jockeys, one from The Crib, a popular San Francisco club, as well as a photo booth and contests, including best couple and best dressed.
Three of the nights “superstars” – Michael Zambrano, Pablo Ramirez and Garrett Reid – were elected by fellow students and recognized for their contributions to the event.
“I was surprised,” Zambrano said, who was sporting a dress and blonde wig. “I don’t even know who nominated me. I just decided to do this today, and I would definitely do this again.”
Despite the booming music and heavy crowd, students said they attended the event because it allowed them to “come as they are.”
“It gives us a chance to be comfortable with who we are, and that’s really cool,” said BECA major Marlyn Lopez.
The event was the result of four months of planning, and all parties involved intend to host another next year.
“This involved so many hours of hard work and I give props to the staff and the other workers,” Reid said, a pre-med major and the event’s main coordinator. “We were looking to bring the SFSU community together from all ends of the rainbow and we did it.”