The Bull Run Unitarian Universalists Church in Manassas is gearing up for an event this weekend that organizers say allows gay, straight and transgender teenagers to express themselves freely without fear of ridicule.
The church, in partnership with the Gay-Straight Alliance of Prince William County, will host the fourth annual inclusive prom on Saturday from 6 to 11:30 p.m. at the church.
Organizers are expecting around 100 teens to attend the prom this year, said Gail Dickert, one of the founding organizers of the event.
The first year, the prom was very small, but attendance more than doubled the second year, she said.
Not as many youth attended the third year, but Dickert said they are expecting a bigger crowd on Saturday because local gay straight alliance members reached out to gay straight alliances in schools in Fairfax County.
This year’s prom theme is, "Set Fire to Shame" and is meant to address and deter the bullying of gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual youth.
Dickert said Saturday’s event is a place where all children will be safe to express themselves without fear of being bullied or picked on by others.
A limited number of adults are allowed to attend the event and security will be present to protect the youth, she said.
No protesters have shown up at the event in the last three years, Dickert said. The hope is this year will disturbance free, too, she added.
In honor of Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican-themed dinner is planned for 6 p.m. and at 7:30, a special show will be shown upstairs in the church sanctuary.
Organizers said prom goers should come ready to dance and make song requests.
Tickets are $20 and are available for purchase at the event. Organizers encourage prom-goers to purchase tickets in advance, as only 125 people are allowed to attend. To buy an advance ticket, email Crystal Chesher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The church is located at 9350 Main St. in Old Town Manassas.