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First LGBTQIA+ youth prom looking for sponsors

Caller-Times - 4/21/2017

April 20--The Coastal Bend's first gay prom for LGBTQIA+ youth is looking for sponsors.

Youth Network Out Together, or YNOT, partnered with the Corpus Christi PFLAG chapter for the event. The glow party-themed prom will be from 7-11 p.m.June 2 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Corpus Christi. It's open to LGBTQIA+ allies and youth ages 13-24.

Sponsors are needed to cover decorations, giveaways, and promotional items, said Angie Baker, youth coordinator for YNOT.

YNOT is a program of the Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation. Its goal is to reduce health disparities between LGBTQIA+ youth and their straight counterparts, Baker said. LGBTQIA+ teens are six times more likely to experience symptoms of depression than the general population, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health Illness website.

"Prom is an opportunity to celebrate young people being themselves," Baker said. "Prom is one of those quintessential activities whereby young adults have a great first experience, express romantic interest or just hang out with friends.

"LGBTQIA+ youth don't feel they have an opportunity to express their true selves in the conventional high school setting," she said. "This eliminates that barrier for them."

Attendees are advised to dress in a way that makes them comfortable -- anything from traditional prom formal wear to t-shirts and jeans or even a costume is welcome.

The prom will be on the same day Pride Downtown kicks off. Corpus Christi's first Pride parade will be at 7 p.m. near the Art Center of Corpus Christi and will run along Shoreline Boulevard.

YNOT member Sam Legendre-Davis said he hopes the events mean Corpus Christi is moving "in the right direction" in being more inclusive of the LGBTQIA+ community. The 20-year-old Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi student said he's experienced a more accepting environment in other cities.

"Corpus Christi is less accepting. A lot less accepting," Legendre-Davis said. "The fact that we do now have this going on could mean we're taking steps in the right direction."


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