First Gay Prom allows students to ‘be themselves’

Gamma Alpha Upsilon put on its first 'Gay Prom' for students and non-students at Cameron Park. Photo courtesy of Gamma Alpha Upsilon.

By Brennen DiMarzo | Staff Writer

On Friday, April 23, Gamma Alpha Upsilon held their first Gay Prom at Cameron Park.

Gamma Alpha Upsilon had been planning this event since last September. Due to them not being a chartered organization, they didn’t have the funding in the past to be able to put on large scale events such as Gay Prom.

A donor, who shall remain anonymous per Gamma’s request, pulled their donation to Baylor after Matt Walsh came to campus and gave a speech entitled ‘The War on Reality: Why the Left has set out to redefine Life, Gender and Marriage.’ The donor then gave their donation to Gamma, allowing them to host Gay Prom, Vice President of Gamma Jake Picker said.

To add to the night festivities, there were multiple local business there providing all catering for the students who attended the event.

“We brought in Waco Axe Company, it was catered by Xristos. We also had Pop’s lemonade, cupcakes and a photo booth for the students,” Picker said. “All students got in for free and non-students had to pay 5 dollars. We ended up having upwards of 150 people attending the event.”

However, the students who attended the event said it was much more than just axe throwing and cupcakes. It was a place where they could freely express themselves and have no fear
of judgment.

“The main reason we threw this event was because a lot of our members couldn’t go to their prom, or they couldn’t bring the person they wanted, or they couldn’t wear what they wanted to wear.” Picker said. “We wanted to give people a chance for them to be themselves.”

Many students said they felt like they could be themselves. Even some who had reservations found those quickly washed away when they got to the event.

Alumni Henry Beard had never been to a Gamma event before and was nervous about this being the first one. He said when he got there, he realized his fears had no grounds to stand on.

“It felt like being enveloped in a non-stressful social situation. When you got there, it was so relaxed, there was no social pressure to hide behind a mask,” Beard said.

While no problems presented themselves at Gay Prom, some said they couldn’t help but feel in the back of their mind someone could sneak in and cause issues.

“I would say I was honestly nervous that someone was going to sneak in and harm us,” Beard said.

For other students, Gay Prom became a place that felt like the first time they have been affirmed.

“Several people said that it was a super affirming event,” Picker said. “One alumni even said that this was the first time he ever felt affirmed while at Baylor. I even started to cry when I saw people dance with their partners, seeing them hold onto one another and dance.”

Though Gay Prom was a success, students such as Picker said they still can’t help but feel that Baylor is making students choose between religion and sexuality.

“I shouldn’t have to choose my religion over my sexuality,” Picker said. “We want to grow in our Christian faith too.”

There are many organizations and websites that support Gamma and their desire to become chartered. BuBearsForAll is one organization that aims to help LGBTQ+ members on campus under a platform that states, “All members of the Baylor family should be treated with equal dignity and respect, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”