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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

F.L.A.R.E Second Chance Prom

Courtesy | F.L.A.R.E.

Every spring, high school seniors gather for what is often branded as the best night of their lives. Students plan for months, buying expensive outfits and coordinating elaborate ways to ask out their dates. For many students, however, prom is not what it is cracked up to be.

The primary goal of Fostering LGBTQ+ Resources, Advocacy & Environment’s (F.L.A.R.E.) Second Chance Prom is to give people who may not have enjoyed prom in high school a second chance to experience it. This includes LGBTQ+ people who may not have been able to dress in a way that represents them authentically or who were not able to be out and proud at their high school prom.

However, Second Chance Prom is not just for the LGBTQ+ community. Cameron Renfrow, a senior psychology major and the president of F.L.A.R.E., said the event is a second chance for many different things.

“Second Chance Prom is a chance for people to experience a prom as their authentic self because a lot of people couldn’t in high school,” Renfrow said, “whether they couldn’t dress or present how they wanted to, couldn’t go with their partner or just didn’t have a prom because of COVID-19.”

People who opted out of prom in high school for different reasons are also welcome. Ryan Langley, a freshman mechanical engineering major and F.L.A.R.E. Outreach Coordinator, said he skipped his high school prom with his girlfriend.

“We stayed home and played Risk in high school,” Langley said. “Partly because of societal pressure, but I also hated everyone at school.”

Despite the event’s old Hollywood glamour theme, there is no strict dress code. Renfrow said that people usually show up in various styles, from black tie to pajamas.

“Not everyone can afford to dress up like that,” Renfrow said. “We just want people to be comfortable in their own skin.”

Langley plans on attending prom, though he said he will probably be seen wearing jeans and a T-shirt thanks to the loose dress code. He said this will be his “first chance” prom.

“This will be 1000% more fun than my high school prom would’ve been if I had gone,” Langley said.

F.L.A.R.E. hosts various events throughout the year intended to advocate, educate and provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ students. Renfrow said that, at most, meetings usually attract 15 to 20 people. However, big events like Second Chance Prom and the Halloween Disco often draw crowds in the hundreds.

“I enjoy the people there,” Renfrow said. “It is one of the bigger events we have, so it is good to see people we don’t usually get to see at the event.”

Crimson Ireland is a freshman biological sciences major and F.L.A.R.E. general body member. Ireland said he enjoys connecting with people at F.L.A.R.E. events.

“I really like the sense of community that we all have because we all kind of have the same experiences,” Ireland said. “So it’s easy for us to connect with each other and help with different things.”

Ireland plans on attending the Second Chance Prom. He said he is excited to attend because he could not wear a suit at his high school prom.

“When I went to prom, I had to wear a dress, and I didn’t feel comfortable in it,” Ireland said, grinning. “For this prom, I get to wear something I actually like.”

F.L.A.R.E. will host its annual Second Chance Prom from 6-9 p.m. on April 27 at the YMCA Plaza. The event will feature a DJ and Pita Pit catering. It is free to attend.

Additionally, a table sponsored by the Safe Zone Advisory Board will be set up an hour before the prom for graduating seniors to decorate their caps and showcase their unique identities, experiences and successes.

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