ST. CHARLES – The Fox Valley’s first Queer Teen Prom will be held Friday in St. Charles as queer teens and allies celebrate with dancing, crafts, snacks, raffles and friendship for the evening, Fox Valley Pride announced in a news release.
Queer Prom will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. at Mixology Salon Spa, 116 W. Main St. with more than 100 teens registered to attend.
Mixology Salon Spa owner Phoebe Falese said she was glad to host the event.
“The kids are just like everyone else – struggling to find their way with their identity,” Falese said. “And with Fox Valley Pride putting it all together with us. I told them I would love to host it.”
Fox Valley Pride is the updated name of Geneva Pride – a group of Fox Valley activists looking to provide a safe, inclusive, and affirming space that celebrates the diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions of residents throughout the Fox Valley communities, the release stated.
“I’m quite proud of how the Fox Valley has grown to embrace pride diversity in recent years,” founding member Paula Merrington of Geneva stated in the release. “It’s heartening to see area police departments adding rainbows to their insignias and cities flying pride flags in celebration of Pride Month. But deep, lasting change takes time to be fully embraced by the community.”
This sentiment was behind the change from Geneva Pride to Fox Valley Pride, as the organizers begin their second year of inclusive activities, Terri Helfers, another founding member, stated in the release.
“We wanted to branch out – many of our events last year were attended by families and students from all over the Fox Valley,” Helfers stated in the release.
“People from all over the area were happy to attend our LGBTQIA+ Pride events, and we wanted to be sure that all people felt included,” Helfers stated in the release. “We intend to keep holding events and doing activities that help all of our students and families feel welcome.”
The Queer Prom will include a DJ, crafts, snacks, a photo booth, a tarot card reader, and multiple raffles, donated by local supporters.
Mixology Spa, Vintage 53 and TownHouse Books and Café in St. Charles, as well as Atlas Chicken in Geneva, donated to make the event available at no cost to the attendees, the release stated.
“What we’re really doing here is building community and acceptance,” Merrington stated in the release. “We want you to know that if you’re part of the LGBTQIA+ community, if you’re exploring or questioning, or if you love someone who is part of the community, you are welcome here – there is a place for you.”
Fox Valley Pride is planning several events in the upcoming months, including a second LGBTQ+ panel discussion, a Family Pride Picnic in the Park, an art show, and an open mic event.
More information is available via email at foxvalleyILpride@gmail.com.