Lez Prom has a special place in my heart as it was the very first event I ever produced and remains one of my favorites to put on and attend every year.
The idea for Lez Prom came from the community via a post on the Austin Lesbians Unite FB group. From this post, I saw large interest in a formal dance specifically for the lesbian community. I loved the idea.
As an avid dancer (80s & 90s jams are my favs) I used to go downtown frequently and hit up Barbarellas for Friday 80s night. I’ve never been particularly shy and have no problem saying “no” or pushing people away that I am not interested in dancing with, in this case mostly men. However, they did not always respect my “no” and would often keep trying, again and again, to dance with me and rub up on me. And this made me feel very uncomfortable, targeted, and unsafe dancing here. So I stopped going.
When I saw the post on the ALU group I thought it was a great idea and could be a lot of fun, but I also thought it was unlikely that it would actually come to fruition as it would require a lot of organizing, planning, and research. But I’m kinda good at those things, and so with mostly unfounded confidence, I decided I was qualified and capable of making it happen.
The first dance originally called the Austin Lesbian Prom, you can thank Ali Martin for coining the name “Lez Prom” took 3 months of planning to produce. This being the first public event I ever produced there was a steep learning curve, from venues to vendors, to performers, DJs, sponsors, and marketing.
At the end of those three months when the event was finally here I was sooo excited and nervous. That day my partner and I (who I’d only been with 4 months at the time and probably thought I was crazy at this point) ran some last minute errands to pick up items for prom. We ran to the mall a few hours before the event was supposed to start to find her some formalwear. We parked outside the Dillard’s. When we finished shopping we went back to Dillard’s to exit, but were unable to locate our car. Then we remembered something. We had entered through sliding glass doors. So we just needed to find the sliding glass doors in the Dillard’s right? There was a problem though. We checked every single exit door in that Dillard’s and none of them were sliding glass. WTF. At this point it was around 3pm and my event was starting at 6pm, I had planned to get there around 5 to set up. I was freaking out.
We started asking employees and explaining to each that we had entered through sliding glass doors in a Dillard’s and that there were no sliding glass doors in this Dillard’s. They continuously pointed us to various exits saying it was over there. But it wasn’t over there, because I checked all of them. Eventually, there was one employee (after we spoke to about 6) who realized that we had parked at the OTHER Dillard’s store in that mall. That’s right, apparently, there were 2 stores and not one of the other employees thought to share this information with us. We eventually made it out of the store, vowing to never return to a Dillard’s again and headed to prom.
After spending the better part of three months bringing this event to life it was finally here. The big night. I was incredibly nervous, the dancing helped, being with my friends (gay, bi, and straight women) helped, and being surrounded by my community was AMAZING. Other couples in love, groups of friends and people dancing freely and shamelessly. It was so beyond wonderful. Such a high and so fulfilling and rewarding.
Thank you to everyone who has ever supported this event past or present. I really mean it when I say this is one of my favorite nights of the year. So liberating. So fun. So bouncy.
Possibly, the only thing that might have made the night better would be if I hadn’t accidentally thrown my car keys in the dumpster at the end of the night while being a good citizen and picking up trash. It was ok though, I made my partner dumpster dive to retrieve them. She’s still with me today, so I guess it all worked out in the end.
Thank you for supporting me, thank you for supporting your community, and please continue to be brave, to have the courage to be truly who you are, always.