The Southern Miss PRISM Office and the Gay-Straight Alliance co-hosted their annual “Second Chance Prom” for those who did not get to attend their first prom or simply wanted a re-do of the night. High schools often do not allow those in the LGBTQ+ community to bring a same-sex partner to prom or impose dress codes that conflict with the way they want to present themselves, so this event served as a way for them to get a second chance at their high school prom.
The Second Chance Prom’s theme was a masquerade ball, and it was complete with food and a DJ.
“It gives students an opportunity to be who they truly want to be. I know in high school there are a lot of restrictions, and this is just an opportunity where students can be who they want without any restrictions or limitations,” Tegi Jenkins-Rimmer, program manager for the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services and GSA advisor, said.
Hazel Tepec, sophomore media production and computer engineering major, said that the event gives students a chance to be their full, authentic selves.
“The second chance prom means having a chance to do-over, a chance to be your full potential. In high school, you try to show out or present yourself as someone who you really aren’t, but us going to the second chance prom actually gives us a chance to be who we actually are and actually be free,” Tepec said. “We’re in the South, and it’s not unknown that a lot of schools in the South don’t like to promote any sort of LGBTQ-related things, so I believe it’s really important. It’s a step in the right direction to have people be who they actually are. It’s really important to me.”
The event gave students a place to dress how they want and be whom they want–something that may not have been offered to them in high school.
“I think this is important because not all of us are allowed to show who we are in high school, so we need more representation where we can be ourselves, and this space allows us to do that,” senior English licensure major Jaq Jefcoat said.
Tepec said there was a rule that students from outside schools could not attend his high school’s prom. Tepec said he disliked being around the same people he was always with.
The event was open to all students and invited those who are not in the LGBTQ+ community to join.
“It’s important to get people to understand the LGBTQ+ community on a different level in a more casual, fun environment. Personally, I just want people to understand that there are different cultures and different aspects around the world. There are different people everywhere you go,” Maya Caradine, senior criminal justice major, said.