Annual Prom event celebrates Canberra’s young LGBTIQA* community

3 December 2018

2 November 2018: A unique event that replicates the fun of a school formal to celebrate Canberra’s young LGBTQIA* community is being held to coincide with the SpringOUT Pride Festival.

Hosted by YWCA Canberra’s youth engagement team, the LGBTQIA+ Allies Prom is now in its third year and involves young people across Canberra aged 12-25 who identify as LGBTQIA+ and their allies.

The event is an opportunity for young people to experience a formal style event and express their identity in a safe, supportive, and non-judgmental environment.

For the first time this year, a range of peer nominated awards recognising outstanding young people in the LGBTQIA* community will be announced at the event, with categories recognising outstanding volunteers, advocates and mentors.

Event organiser Ciara Duggan said registrations and the scale of the event had grown exponentially since the first Prom in 2016, with the event complementing YWCA Canberra’s existing youth engagement programs which build self-confidence and resilience, including the A-Z social support group.

“It’s a nice way to celebrate the community and it definitely was a service gap. That’s what the youth engagement team does, we look at service gaps and then fill them. It’s great seeing young people have such a good time, and the feedback from parents and carers is just phenomenal,” Ciara said.
The event is run by an organising committee of passionate young people who led the design and delivery of the event, including selecting this year’s theme of ‘Wonderland’.

Organising committee members Hunter (19) and Alistair (20) said being involved in Prom was a special way to give back to their community and provide something they wished they’d had when they were at school, where “people can just be people”.

“Growing up, [other formals] weren’t a safe space to celebrate who we were, whereas with Prom that is literally the point, to go with who we want to go with and be who we want to be for the night,” said Alistair.
“The event supports such a large proportion of our youth. There are so many youth today that identify as LGBT and there’s still discrimination and marginalisation. So, it’s so important that we have this event to look forward to, that supports us.”

Frances Crimmins, Chief Executive Officer of YWCA Canberra, said the event was a highlight on the LGBTIQ community’s calendar, and that the organisation had been thrilled by the community response to the event.
“Canberra takes pride in being a tolerant and progressive city, and thanks to the generosity of the local community, all young people are able to attend this event for free” Ms Crimmins said.

“We’d also like to thank our sponsors for making this event possible: Joint Gold Sponsors A Gender Agenda and AIDS Action Council, Participation Partner the ACT Government Office of LGBTIQ Affairs and venue sponsor Ainslie Football Club, as well as a variety of local businesses providing their services for free.”

This year, the event is being held at the Ainslie Football Club on Thursday 8 November from 6pm and is strictly drug and alcohol free. More event details are available on the YWCA Canberra website.

Media contact: Helen Machalias 0455 655 330

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