Attending Queer Prom with Evan Rachel Wood

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Entertainment Reporter: Lily Khuu / Video Journalist: Sarah Woodward

Our AfterEllen team enjoyed capturing highlights of BuzzFeed’s Queer Prom on camera and dancing with the mayor of West Hollywood.  Many of the AfterEllen staff could relate to the purpose of this event, as none of us who went actually attended our own high school proms.

The red carpet received attention from a plethora of LGBT and allied celebrities.

Evan Rachelwood of Westworld and Rebel and a Basketcase received a special honor in a black-and-white striped suit while standing on stage in front of a crowd of LGBT students from all over the country.

Queer Prom Room

Adam Lambert arrived to the Queer Prom head-to-toe in a leopard print suit.”The closest thing I had to anything that was queer in my high school life was watching Will and Grace on TV… I don’t think anybody went to my high school prom with a same-sex partner.”


At 35 years young, it could be assumed that Lambert’s experience in high school — almost 20 years ago —  would differ than a high school prom in 2017.  However, just under two months ago the lesbian couple Paula Goodgame and Anjali Persad were forbidden to attend their high school’s prom.  Their story went viral when Goodgame tweeted her frustrations about being informed only a week before the traditional dance party.

Evan Rachel Wood at Queer Prom - Photo/Sarah Woodward
Evan Rachel Wood at Queer Prom – Photo/Sarah Woodward

McKenna Palmer chose to opt out.  “I didn’t know if I would feel comfortable attending.  I was newly out and I didn’t know if I wanted to bring a girl or how I wanted to dress.  So, I think that was a big factor of why I didn’t attend my high school prom.”

Some couples were allowed to attend their prom, but still experienced discomfort.  A student attendee opened up about being queer at a regular high school prom:

“I went to my regular prom.  It wasn’t comfortable or exciting.  I was just so afraid that people I knew would see me — or just being stared at and feeling like the odd one out.”


Scott Hoying of Pentatonix talks about how he would have brought a male partner to prom,  but didn’t feel it was accepted  McKenna Palmer reminisces how her and her friends crashed an LGBT prom being hosted at a nearby college.  “We didn’t know anyone — our peers weren’t there — we had each other.”

“It’s so important for youth to be able to express themselves and feel like they have a voice,” says Mitch Grassi of Pentatonix.

Balloons at Queer Prom - Photo/Sarah Woodward
Balloons at Queer Prom – Photo/Sarah Woodward

West Hollywood’s mayor Lauren Meister shares her thoughts about homophobia being experienced in regular high school proms.  “Our children should be comfortable going to their prom — no matter who they are.”

One of the Queer Prom contest winners gives advice for other LGBT youth struggling to cope with their identities:

“When you’re you one-hundred percent of the time, the right people are going to come into your life and find you.”

Feel free to peruse the slideshow with Buzzfeed’s candid and red carpet moments with Evan Rachel Wood and others!