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NDSU hosts prom for gays

NDSU student Ty Specht, chairman of the GayStraight+Alliance, sorts through T-shirts that will be sold at the LGBTQA Prom to be held on April 8. Photo by David Samson / The Forum

FARGO - Gay students attended Ty Specht's high school prom, but they were pushed to the corner.

"They were definitely shunned," said Specht, now a student at North Dakota State University and chairman of the GayStraight+Alliance. "They weren't part of the main event."

Now those students have another option.

The GayStraight+Alliance is hosting the LGBTQA Prom at NDSU for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and ally students.

"There are so many students that don't get to enjoy or appreciate a high school prom because high school prom is very male-female dating couples, you can't be anything different," he said.

Specht said he's heard stories from college students who either weren't allowed to bring a same-sex partner to their high school prom, or perhaps they didn't feel comfortable doing so.

"We really wanted to provide a prom for everybody so they can finally get that experience and enjoy going to a prom," said Specht, a third-year architecture student.

The prom is being planned by student organizations at Fargo-Moorhead campuses. Straight allies are also welcome at the event, Specht said.

A similar event hosted last spring at Minnesota State University Moorhead attracted about 100 people, said Kit Wong, an NDSU senior who helped coordinate that year's event.

"This event is about being allowed to be who you are," Wong said.

This year, the prom is also open to high school students.

No alcohol will be at the event. Students under 18 are required to have parental permission to attend.

"It's something we don't like because we know there are high school students who aren't out to their parents," Specht said. "But we needed it for liability."

Kara Gravley-Stack, director of the NDSU Equity and Diversity Center, said she thinks it's a good move to include high-schoolers.

"As challenging as it can be for our college students to find places to socialize comfortably, it's probably even more challenging for our high school students to do that," she said.

If you go

What: LGBTQA Prom

When: 8 p.m. to midnight April 8

Where: NDSU Alumni Center, 1241 N. University Drive

Info: Event is open to high school and college students with a valid ID. Students under 18 need parental permission. Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door. To purchase tickets, contact Ty Specht at

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590