I’m a bit torn about this. I’m glad to know there’s a group who are willing to give LGBT students their night to remember as seniors in high school, but it’s sending a message that it’s okay to exclude people who are different.
Traditionally, school formal night itself pales in comparison to the weeks of anticipation.
Thoughts of table configurations, outfits, fake IDs and of course, dates, cloud the collective psyche of the average graduating class. But for kids who are gay, bisexual and transgender, such everyday worries easily magnify as they wonder where they fit in this particularly “straight” mainstay of the high school experience. Consider the transgender girl who has long dreamed of the opportunity to wear a ball gown, but fears ridicule by her peers. Or the out guy who wants to bring his boyfriend from another school, but is met with a hostile administration. For this girl, this guy, and many, many others, the formal can be a minefield of awkward situations and social exclusion.
Enter Minus18. A group for LGBTI young people based in Victoria, Minus18 has run several successful formals for queer young people and their friends in Melbourne over recent years. The group has tapped into a market with clear demand – numbers at their last Melbourne formal swelled to about 500.