It may not happen in June, or even in person, but one way or another organizers of the Vernon Pride Prom still plan on bringing LGBTQ+ youth together.
The event is scheduled for June 27 at Record City—a date that’s subject to change depending on public health directives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Organizers of the event say they’re keeping a close eye on the COVID-19 situation.
Taron Des Mazes, a Grade 12 student at Vernon Secondary School, organized Vernon’s first pride prom last year after noticing a lack of pride events for young people in the city.
“In order to go to a pride event you either have to go to Kelowna or Penticton, which is hard for a lot of kids because a lot of us can’t drive, we don’t have cars,” Des Mazes said.
“I definitely know there’s a large population of LGBTQ youth in Vernon, (but) we’re all in little pockets or groups and we don’t communicate with each other very much, so I kind of wanted to fix that.”
June is recognized by people around the world as Pride Month, but June proves to be too early to hold a dance, Des Mazes says she’ll postpone until August or September. If public gatherings are still a no-go beyond September, she says she’ll pursue an online solution—not an ideal solution, but better than no event at all.
“If I hold it online it won’t be the same as it being in person, especially with something like a dance,” she said.
One of Des Mazes’ goals in starting Vernon Pride Prom was to provide youth with the high school dance experience, which she finds is becoming less common at schools.
“I’ve noticed that high schools don’t really do high school dances anymore, which is a bummer because they sound like fun, so I kind of figured this would be a good way to get people together, have fun … without any of the formalities of a high school dance.”
The event is for ages 13 to 18 and runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 in advance or $10 at the door.
Des Mazes will provide an update on the event’s status in May. For updates on the event, follow vernonprideprom on Instagram.