YAKIMA, Wash. — Yakima Pride is holding a Rainbow Prom this weekend to give LGBTQ+ youth who might not feel comfortable at school dances a chance to shine.
Organizers said the annual dance is a chance for those young people to be able to express themselves in a supportive environment — something they might not feel comfortable doing at their own school's celebrations.
"For me, at least, I don't feel super comfortable and accepted when I go to my high school's proms or homecomings, Not necessarily because anyone makes me feel that way, but just because it's very much geared towards heteronormative ideals," said 17-year-old Desi Quenzer, who helped to organize the event.
Quenzer said that feeling is especially present when it comes to prom royalty, which typically features a king and a queen and may exclude others who are non-binary from feeling like they can participate. She said that's why the court at Rainbow Prom is non-gendered.
"We're trying to make it a lot more inclusive; it's designed specifically for LGBTQ+ people and youth just to come and be themselves and feel comfortable," Quenzer said. "Everyone, anyone, no matter your pronouns, your sexuality, your gender, anyone can get prom royalty."
Rainbow Prom is open to anyone 14 to 20 years old and will take place Saturday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Le Chateau ballroom in downtown Yakima. Tickets are $10 online or $15 at the door.
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Emily Goodell joined the KAPP/KVEW team in February 2019.
Emily was born in raised in Yakima, where she currently works as our Yakima Bureau Chief. She’s worked in nearly every journalism medium, but above all else, her passion is investigative reporting. At the Yakima Herald-Republic, Emily worked as a breaking news, city government and crime and courts reporter. She’s served as a city government and education reporter at the Ellensburg Daily Record, a freelance journalist for Yakima Valley Publishing and as Northwest Public Broadcasting’s Yakima Correspondent.
Emily completed a news reporting internship with Spokane Public Radio and an arts and culture reporting internship with The Inlander, an alternative urban weekly in Spokane, Wash.
She also covered censorship and freedom of the press issues facing student media across the nation at the Student Press Law Center in Washington, D.C. Emily graduated from Whitworth University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Mass Communication.
In college, Emily worked with her colleagues and researchers at Florida International University on a collaborative project looking at the experiences of women working as professionals in the communication field. Throughout her high school and college career, Emily competed in speech and debate tournaments at the regional, state and national level.
Emily is an avid traveler. Within the U.S., she’s visited 16 states and the District of Columbia. Outside the country, she’s also been to Canada, the United Kingdom and South Africa. While in Durban, South Africa, Emily was more than 10,000 miles away from her hometown — about as far as you can get.