Second Chance Prom launches 2-week Pride Festival in Saskatoon

The Saskatoon Pride Festival is holding the Second Chance Prom for members of the LGBT community who couldn’t take the date they really wanted the first time around.

LGBT celebration starts with prom-themed event Friday

Krystal Nieckar and Reann Legge planning for the busy schedule of events during this year's two-week Pride Festival. (Submitted by Rachel Loewen Walker)

When it came time to choose a date for her high school prom, Amanda Klassen already knew she didn't like boys.

"However, I didn't know what my options were at that time," she said.

"So I took a friend with me and discovered later I was lesbian and that's just the way I was born."

Now Klassen has a second chance to go to prom, and this time she's free to take the date of her choice.

The Saskatoon Pride Festival, in partnership with OUT Saskatoon and Saskatoon Sexual Health, is holding an event called Second Chance Prom on Friday. 

It's open to everyone, but is particularly focused on members of the LGBT community who might not have been able to take the date they really wanted the first time around.

Society more accepting now

Klassen said she was about 20 when she came out to her family.

She said society has become more accepting since her own high school prom, and Friday's Pride event is the perfect opportunity to give it another shot with her partner.

"At this age, I find that more people are probably coming out and doing the Second Chance Prom because they came out at a later date and are more comfortable now with who they are," said Klassen.

The prom kicks off a two-week program of Saskatoon Pride Festival events.

Pride crosswalk incident shows more work to be done 

OUT Saskatoon executive director Rachel Loewen Walker said the festival is about celebrating gender identity and sexuality in a visible way.

"I know we think we are more progressive than we used to be but even today there are so many LGBT people that don't feel comfortable holding their partner's hand in public or dressing the way they want to dress," said Loewen Walker.

Last week, one of two rainbow crosswalks painted to celebrate Pride in Saskatoon sparked online debate after black tire marks appeared just days after it was painted.

Loewen Walker said the crosswalks led to some negative comments on social media, but also mobilized support for the LGBT community.

"We can kind of sometimes forget what's going on underneath," she said.

"It shows that there still are a lot of people that are homophobic, that are transphobic, that don't want anything to do with Pride.

"And sometimes making that visible helps us recognize the work that still needs to be done and it mobilized people to step up."

The Second Chance Prom will be held at the HMCS Unicorn building from 6:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. CST on Friday.

Tickets are $10 and the event is for ages 19 and over.