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'Diversity Prom' to welcome gay and straight students

12:05 AM, Feb 22, 2013   |    comments
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Being different can be hard on any teen. Being gay can be even harder.

Just ask William Tackett.

"Middle school was tough, very very tough for me," says Tackett. "I would walk in and notice that someone had inscribed 'fag' on my locker."

Now a sophomore at Bearden High School, Tackett says things have gotten better. He's a member of his school's Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) and says he feels comfortable being himself around most of his peers.

But prom is a different story.

"Even though my school is very accepting, there's still those few who would rather die than see me dance with my same-sex partner at prom," says Tackett.

He attended Diversity Prom for the first time last year as a freshman. It's a dance that invites gay, lesbian, and straight students to dance the night away together.

"It was just the best thing that ever happened to me," says Tackett. "It is that place where I can go open and be accepted and dance with whoever I want."

This year's dance has a 'storybook' theme. They've already picked a venue but they're working on raising the $6,000 Tackett estimates they'll need to fund other expenses like food and music.

He's in charge of finding sponsors. And while anyone can donate through the GLSEN website, Tackett says he's hoping for public support.

"If a car dealership decided to sponsor us, something that is common and everybody looks at and sees and identifies with, then it makes it to where you're going, 'oh, I'm not so hated, I'm not so unwelcome," says Tackett.

The event is completely privately funded and not associated with any specific school. Tackett attends Bearden High, but students from schools across East Tennessee are welcome.

Tackett says the event provides security, including several police officers.

To find out more about the date and time, visit their Facebook page or click here.

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