Alternative prom in St. Cloud caters to LGBT teens from across Minnesota

Alternative prom in St. Cloud caters to LGBT teens from across Minnesota

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Gay and lesbian teens who may feel uncomfortable attending their high schools’ traditional prom have another option — an alternative prom in the St. Cloud area that’s open to LGBT teens from across the state.

This is the second year organizers are hosting the “Masquerade” alternative prom in St. Cloud. The Saturday night event at the Quarry at St. Cloud State University is free and open to students from all school districts. It has been promoted in Duluth, Bemidji and the Twin Cities.

Image: Showtime/Queer as Folk

The St. Cloud Times reported Wednesday that organizers hope to attract 100 attendees ages 17 to 21. As of last week, 11 teens had confirmed they would attend and about a dozen more said on Facebook that they would attend.

Prom committee co-organizer Bill Weber-Brown said the alternative prom gives teens a chance to be who they want to be without fear of repercussions.

Bill’s husband, Troy Weber-Brown, said a prom for LGBT youth is necessary. Troy Weber-Brown is a family, marriage and gender therapist in St. Cloud. He said counselors will be available throughout the night to talk to teens.

“Us offering this prom isn’t a message to the school district about safety,” Troy Weber-Brown said. “It’s us connecting the kids to the resources.”

Troy Weber-Brown’s transgender son, Aaron Weber, plans to attend with a friend. Weber, who was born female but now identifies as male, wore a dress at his high school prom last year. This time, he’ll dress as a male.

“I wanted to use this as a way of presenting a male,” Weber said. “I want to show off my moves that aren’t coordinated.”

The prom will have dancing, decorations and refreshments. Royalty will be crowned, with the winners choosing whether they want to be a king or a queen.

“The difference is what kids tell us,” Troy Weber-Brown said. “We want to give a safe comfortable atmosphere so kids can do what they are meant to do.”

The Minnesota School OUTreach Coalition in Minneapolis also will host an alternative prom in May. Coalition manager Leigh Combs said some teens still attend their high school proms, but they also want to attend an event where they can be themselves.

“I don’t think we have any rites of passages for kids,” Combs said. “This is one for some.”

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