At the end of the school year senior students make pressing decisions and preparations- which classes to skip, activities for senior ditch day, and preparing for the high-pressure senior dance or prom. Guys and girls alike scramble around trying to find dates, dresses and the right shades of makeup. But what do you do if you're gay and want to participate in the end-of-year festivities? Learn how to survive your senior prom if you're gay.
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- First and foremost, try not to stress out over the situation. It's an important decision to take a same-sex date to the prom. Take time to evaluate the gay-friendliness and climate of your school.
- If you're not out and plan to stay that way during high school, you may want to reconsider taking a same-sex date. It will be terribly hard to avoid coming out to the entire student body while slow dancing with another guy.
- Inform your school administration of your plans to bring a same-sex date. That way they can discuss security measures or student body education if necessary. They may advise against bringing a gay date for safety reasons or just to avoid a stir, but ultimately the decision is up to you. You don't have to take no for an answer.
- When possible, inform your parents or an adult you trust of your plans. They can be a vital support network and can help you think through possible prom night scenario.
- Also contact your local community center or PFLAG chapter for help. They may be able to assist you in preparing your parents, the school administration and your date for the event.
- Solicit support from your friends. Let them know that you are bringing a same-sex date. Plan pre and post prom activities with them. Also, plan to spend time with these other gay-friendly couples during the actual dance. This will help alleviate some of the tension or uncomfortable feelings. It's much easier to avoid and ignore homophobes when you are near your support system.
- Be sure your date is comfortable being in a close same-sex couple at a predominantly heterosexual event. This may seem obvious, but the excitement of going may overshadow the reality of the situation. As long as you both are aware and comfortable, you'll be fine.
- Stay in open lit areas near crowds. In an ideal world you should be able to hold hands with your boyfriend and dance off into the sunset, but in the days of unpredictable hate crimes, you have to take the necessary precautions.
- Hold your head up high! Kids will look at you, talk about you and stare. Just keep in mind that this special moment is for you and your date, not the comfort of others.
- Stay in lit and populated areas. Safety first! Here are ways you can help avoid a hate crime.
- Inform as many adults as possible about your plans. Leave a trail by letting then know where you are at all times.
- Hang out other gay-friendly couples.