My prom experience seems to have been a typical one in that it was in no way similar to a prom portrayal in movies, my beloved first generation 90210, or the previously ubiquitous teen magazine prom issues. My date was a friend of mine, we went with another couple who I don’t think really even spoke to each other. The group we went with could all be described as heterosexual and cisgender and besides the Who, What, When, Hair, Why? of it all, we had no trouble fitting into the boy/girl, tux/dress set-up.
Since then, those who haven’t had the luxury to enjoy these milestone events with the same level of comfort have often made the news. Last year, an openly gay Louisiana senior, Claudetteia Love, was told she couldn’t wear a tuxedo while accompanying her group of friends to prom. Love was eventually able to wear her tuxedo to the prom and the ACLU, whose Louisiana chapter issued a letter to the state’s superintendents, has a resource page for just this issue.
As time goes on, the news also includes, well, those who include. Last year’s prom season also included the story of straight high school student Jacob Lescenski who asked his gay friend Anthony Martinez to prom in what went on to be an adorable and viral “promposal.” The boys were both interviewed on “Ellen” and it was clear their Las Vegas High School was touched by the act of friendship.
As I was heartened to learn of Jacob and Anthony’s story, I was even more thrilled to see the same spirit of inclusivity right here in Edmonds. In my Facebook feed, I came across an option for LGBTQA+ youth and their friends. A 16-year-old Edmonds Woodway sophomore and Girl Scout, Kyrsten Frost, is throwing a Masquer-Gayed Ball an “all-inclusive dance for the Queer Community and its allies,” April 16th at the Edmonds United Methodist Church, 828 Caspers St.
She is working on her Gold Award, which is “the highest honor in Girl Scouts and is earned by addressing a community issue.” Per Frost’s website dedicated to the process, she says “I think that inclusion and equality are prominent issues that are important to address. All though a lot has changed in terms of acceptance recently, a stigma still exists around LGBTQA individuals that I would like to break.” Inspired by her friends, the tenacious teenager wants the event to be inclusive, where everyone feels “safe as who they are” and “not judged.”
Frost is the first in her small troop to work on their Gold Award, which she told me is less of a group project that the Bronze and Silver projects were. The Girl Scouts recommend 80 hours of work towards completing a Gold Award project. Frost, a Girl Scout since the second grade, thinks 80 hours will be easily reached planning this party, noting Edmonds United Methodist Church has been a “huge help.”
The Girls Scouts website says “in nearly 100 years, one million girls have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent.” Those recipients who join the armed services enter at one rank higher than other recruits and “university research indicates that adding Gold Award to a college application is a critical element in the admissions-decision process.”
The Masquer-Gayed Ball will have a DJ, food by Evviva Pizza and coffee by Starbucks for the volunteers. High-school-aged attendees can dress how they are comfortable. Those who choose a tux can get a $10 discount at Generation Tux online. Tickets for the event are just $8 and you can find those tickets and more information at kyrstensgoldaward.weebly.com.