NOVA Pride and Northern Virginia Teens Team up to Present an All-Inclusive Prom for LGBTQ+ Youth

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The third year of Loudoun County-based “Pride Prom” is expanding to all of Northern Virginia and is shaping up to be the greatest yet.

NOVA Pride Prom - May 12 - Celebrating our Past

NOVA Pride Prom - May 12 - Celebrating our Past

“We are so proud to be working with such sharp, talented, dedicated youth in bringing their event to the next level” says Brian Reach, President and Executive Director of NOVA Pride.

NOVA Pride and LGBTQ+ youth advocates unite forces to create an unforgettable night for high schoolers across Northern Virginia.

Pride Prom began in 2015 as Lily Hamilton’s high school senior “capstone” project to provide students with a safe space where they could enjoy a prom-like experience. Blake Hesson followed suit in 2016 by planning the second annual Pride Prom. Both years, the event was held in Loudoun County High School’s gym with over one hundred students in attendance each year.

Leaders from gender-sexuality alliances across Loudoun County have collaborated this year to increase Pride Prom’s impact by partnering with NOVA Pride, a local nonprofit organization serving the Northern Virginia LGBTQ+ Community, and relocating to The Bellevue Conference & Event Center in Chantilly. With this partnership and move, the 2017 NOVA Pride Prom will be open to all high school students in Northern Virginia.

On Friday, May 12 from 7-11pm, Northern Virginia’s high school students will have the chance to dance in The Bellevue’s luxurious Milan Ballroom, which boasts “3300 square feet of crystal white marble” and “3 stunning, smoke chandeliers.” Attendees will also be free to relax in the picturesque rooftop Vero Sky Lounge with a panoramic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Pride Prom’s mission has persisted: give students the opportunity to express themselves in a supportive environment.

High school senior Blair Smith, one of this year’s planners, echoes the visions of Hamilton and Hesson by saying, “Everyone deserves to feel accepted, supported, and celebrated. Moreover, every person who is struggling with their sexuality or gender identity should see that it’s okay to be unsure and realize that there is no one definition of identity. Pride Prom gives kids the space to recognize how beautifully different we all really are—it’s an eye-opening experience to walk into a room full of people being so unapologetically themselves. If this dance makes just once person smile, it will be a complete success.”

This year’s theme for Pride Prom, “Celebrate Our Past,” focuses on the history of the LGBTQ+ social movement. “We are so proud to be working with such sharp, talented, dedicated youth in bringing their event to the next level,” says Brian Reach, President and Executive Director of NOVA Pride. “The ongoing journey towards equality and inclusion for all has been one filled with inspiring – and sometimes frustrating – stories, and the focus on celebrating the iconic figures and events that have helped pave the way is the perfect way to kick off this year’s Pride Prom.”

Tickets are on sale for $25 for advance purchase, increase to $35 at the end of April, then sell for $40 at the door. Tickets are available right now at novapride.org/prideprom. Additionally, those interested in supporting the event (from which any leftover proceeds will be donated to local charities serving LGBTQ+ youth) are encouraged to visit the NOVA Pride Prom fundraiser page to create your own, or make a tax-deductible donation directly to the cause.

To learn more about the NOVA Pride Prom, visit novapride.org/prideprom.

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Brian Reach
NOVA Pride
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since: 07/2011
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