The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Queer Prom honors late student

UWEC event kicks it up a notch for its second year 
Court is in session with Queer Prom court posing for a photo to commemorate their election. (Photo used with permission from Kallie Friede)

UW-Eau Claire’s second-ever Queer Prom was held from 7-11 p.m. on Nov. 18 in the Ojibwe Ballroom, 

Last year’s Queer Prom was held in the Oak Ridge Hall basement with music and a few other activities. 

This year’s event was organized by a committee consisting of the director and student service coordinator of the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC), Kallie Friede and Sam Glaab-Lanigan, along with help from Oak Ridge Rainbow Pod resident assistant Jordan Bauer and other student volunteers. 

Bauer, who was also the announcer for the prom court that night, said the event is provided with $1000 of funding or something in that ballpark. The $1000 each year is provided by the parents of Matty Mickelson, a former UW-Eau Claire student who passed away. 

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Watching students show up and dance in the same carefree, joyous and effervescent way that Matty did is something I think she would have really appreciated, and I know she would have loved to join for when she was here,” Friede said. 

A card for the student’s parents was available at the event for attendees to sign. 

This year’s event also had a DJ, who Glaab-Lanigan said was volunteering for free, along with face painting, henna, temporary tattoos, hair tinsel, a photo booth and caricature artists. 

Bauer said there were caricature artists at last year’s event as well, but that last year’s artists were student volunteers, while they have professionals this year. 

The event included a Planned Parenthood table that provided students with informative pamphlets and free items such as fans, pins and more. Glaab-Lanigan said Planned Parenthood reached out to them to appear at the event. 

“They thought that this would be a really good group to talk about their services. They have a lot of gender-affirming services and gender care so then they reached out to us to table at this event specifically,” Glaab-Lanigan said. 

The event also had a snack table with an assortment of chips and dips, Dunkaroos, Lindt truffles, Rice Krispy bars and sparkling grape juice. 

Glaab-Lanigan said they were able to provide more snacks this year due to the increased budget and shopping at Sam’s Club. 

About halfway through the night, Bauer announced which nominees had been elected to Queer Prom Court. 

There were eight people voted onto the court with two of them being crowned royalty. One such royal was Jasmine Travis, a second-year creative writing and psychology student who had been involved with organizing last year’s event. 

Travis said they were surprised to win since they weren’t as involved this year. Last year, Travis was the event coordinator but they took on the position of Haymarket Hall Council president this year. 

Travis said they see Queer Prom as “a safe space” for those who may not have been able to experience prom as their true selves due to bullying or other factors. 

“It’s both tightly knit as in a lot of people know each other, but at the same time it’s a very open environment, very welcoming and anyone can come be themselves here, and know everyone will still love you for it,” Travis said. 

Going forward, Bauer said she hopes the event coordinators can get the word out more in the future and encourage people to attend in 2024. 

Bauer said that as a fourth-year student, she will try to attend the next Queer Prom, but as a student teacher, won’t be able to help plan it. 

“I will miss it deeply. Last year, I cried about five times during the event. This year, I didn’t cry during it. I was just smiling and having the best time of my life the entire evening,” Bauer said.

Liz Curtin can be reached at [email protected].

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