Sometimes little steps can make big differences.
The Aug. 15 Times news report “St. Cloud group plans GLBT prom for area teens” brings that point to mind for several reasons.
Most of all, plans for this event — organized by the group Central MN Prom Alternative — are yet another reflection of the growth and diversity in Central Minnesota. That’s a good thing!
In that context, the prom — set for April 28 at Le St-Germain Hotel in St. Cloud and open to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender teens and their allies ages 16-19 — makes an important statement that these teens are accepted for who they are.
That’s a vital message and one not to be overlooked — or forgotten — as Minnesota, like so many other states, wrestles with how peers and even family members treat GLBT teens, not to mention broader issues such as same-sex marriage.
Again, amid those challenges, it’s encouraging to see supporters of GLBT teens provide this option for one of the premier traditional social events of the teenage years.
Of course, more honesty is needed when it comes to this event.
First, having an alternative prom probably makes all teens (and perhaps more so their parents and school leaders) breathe a little easier.
Yes, all-inclusive proms are the ultimate long-term goal. But even at the adult level today, many social circles and traditions struggle to include same-sex couples. So why put teens — gay and straight — in similarly awkward positions for what should be one of the highlights of their high school years?
Second, keep this alternative prom in perspective. It’s one night and it’s offered to GLBT teens who want to attend a prom with their significant others while in the company of people who accept them for who they are. That does not mean every GLBT teen will want to attend, nor does it signal that similar teen activities should be segregated by sexual preference.
Finally, knowing that it takes many little steps to make progress, we simply hope this alternative prom amounts to one more small way to expand the support and acceptance of local GLBT teens.
— St. Cloud Times,