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Annual LGBTQ Prom Gives South Florida Teens An Open Space To Dance, Sing

Sam Turken
More than 60 teenagers and young adults attended an annual LGBTQ prom Saturday night hosted by the nonprofit, Pridelines.

A South Florida nonprofit continued a 24-year tradition Saturday night with a prom that provides local LGBTQ youth with an open space to be themselves.

More than 60 teenagers and young adults attended the “Once Upon A Time” themed prom at the North Shore Community Center in Miami Beach. The event was open to youth of all sexual identities and featured dancing to hip hop and Latin music, singing and a drag queen performance.

It lets you be “in a community where you actually feel wanted, instead of being in a high school where you know there’s a lot of people who judge other people for how they dress and how they act and how they dance and stuff like that,” said 19-year-old Yeni Medina, who has attended the prom for the past three years.

Pridelines, which seeks to support and empower South Florida’s LGBTQ community, hosts the prom once a year either in Miami-Dade County or Broward.

Charlita Williamson, the non-profit’s director of youth programs, said the event is often the only opportunity for attendees to experience prom because they don’t feel comfortable going to their school ones.

“This provides them with an opportunity to be in an environment where they’re having fun,” she said. “Nobody is questioning who they are or why they’re here.”

During the three-hour prom on Saturday night, attendees spent most time eating and dancing. Some break-danced and performed splits and backflips across the dance floor as others gathered around in a circle to watch. Pridelines provided some of the teens with dresses and other attire. 

Credit Sam Turken
Sam Turken
The annual prom is meant to be a safe space for the teens to enjoy themselves, organizers said.

Medina, who goes by the pronoun “they/them,” said the prom is especially important considering that many of the youth are homeless or live in shelters.

“You don’t really get this anywhere,” Medina said, noting that they have spent time in a shelter because they did not feel accepted around their parents.

Pridelines has a drop-in center for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness. It also provides free HIV testing and regularly holds other events where youth can be together in a safe space.

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