QuEST for the Garden of Eden
Lafayette Hosts 4th Annual Lehigh Valley Queer & Ally Prom
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 15, 2013 08:02
For the first time this Saturday, Lafayette will be hosting the Fourth Annual Lehigh Valley Queer & Ally Prom. The theme, said Director of Gender and Sexuality Programs and Associate Dean of Intercultural Development Gene Kelly, is Our Garden of Eden. “Sort of a play on Adam and Eve,” said Kelly. “Everyone would be invited to [our] Garden of Eden…Adam and Steve, Madame and Eve, or Adam and Eve.” The event is free, although there is a suggested $5 donation, which will go to help HAVEN, a LGBTQ youth group sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lehigh Valley. QuEST Social Chair Arielle Reyes ‘13, who organized the event, answered a few questions about what we can expect at the Prom.
LY: How did you get involved in QuEST and the Queer & Ally Prom?
AR: My good friends were extremely dedicated to QuEST my sophomore year at Lafayette and I wanted to get involved in something that introduced me to great people that also helped the members and the community in some way. I went to one meeting and I was hooked. It’s actually kind of a miracle that they came along because, while I am not against advocating for LGBTQ rights, I was also not very involved in activism in any meaningful way prior to my joining QuEST. I got involved with the Queer and Ally Prom because I ran for QuEST Social Chair at the beginning of this academic year. It is a new board position that requires me to plan, organize and coordinate any social events QuEST plans. The Queer Prom is actually my baby, it’ll be the biggest social event I plan for QuEST this year.
LY: This is the fourth annual prom. How did Lafayette get the rights to host it, and do you know where it has been held before?
AR: Lehigh has hosted the prom before…Gene Kelly got us the rights to host it. We’ve wanted to do it for 2 years now but it always sort of sprang up on us and the prom is not something you can plan last minute.
LY: What are your hopes/expectations for [Saturday]? Do you think people will attend from the Lehigh Valley outside of Lafayette?
AR: I’m hoping for the best! Since this is my baby, I’m hoping that lots of people from the invited schools attend the Queer Prom and have a blast. We have a few people from other schools who have registered for Queer Prom and I hope the LGBT alliance groups on the invited campuses spread the word and attend. I kind of have high hopes. My biggest hope is that we have more people than The Spot can handle. I definitely don’t want to turn people away but if we have a full house I think I might burst into tears [of joy].
LY: What can attendees expect at the prom?
AR: The prom is themed after the Garden of Eden so people can expect fake foliage and fresh fruit to eat with melted chocolate. The board and I have decided that we will also have door prizes and a raffle for a blue ray DVD player. Like any prom, there will be a photo area for formal pictures as take-home souvenirs. It should be a great time.
This event will be as inclusive and welcoming as any environment can be. It will be a place where any judgments, prejudices, bias and discrimination will be left at the door in exchange for good food, company and music. The prom will be a no-bias zone. That is the biggest thing I want to stress. The board and I have done our absolute best to make this a fun event for everyone and I for one will not stand for any party poopers, no matter what guise they put on for the night. This is prom and not everyone had a great experience at their prom the first time around for many different reasons. No bad experiences should be had here, because this is prom. Prom should always be fun; fun for everyone.