The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula are hosting their second annual LGBTQ+ Ball at the Carroll C. Kendall Unit in Sequim on Saturday, Jan. 25, in an effort to promote equality and respect, and as program director Tessa Jackson put it, “To let kids be whoever they are.”
The dance is a celebration of the local LGBTQ community as well as their friends and allies, with a “Winter Wonderland” theme to give kids something fun to work around.
The idea, as originally devised by the club’s Keystone teen leadership club, is to give youths in the LGBTQ community a place to be themselves.
“We want kids to be able to come and be who they are and not feel judged or disliked because of it,” Jackson said.
The first event in 2019 drew about 20 attendees and was well received by those who attended, club officials said.
“Everyone had a lot of fun,” Keystone member Nicole Fearn said.
Fearn and fellow Keystone member Jaedyn Werts said that there’s been more interest among students this year, and more support from the Gay-Straight Alliance club at Sequim High School.
Starting the event in the first place was a challenge, Jackson noted, because of backlash from the community and even from some supporters of the club.
“They didn’t want this originally,” she said. “They thought we were encouraging kids to be LGBTQ.”
“All we want is for kids to be who they are and be comfortable and supported in that,” Fearn added.
“We were very protective of the whole event last year,” Jackson said. “But it went so well that we’re just excited to be able to do it again.”
The dance starts at 6:30 p.m. and is scheduled to end at 9:30 p.m., with a $5 cover charge at the door (down from $10 a year ago) with a requirement for a school ID or other proof of age.
The dance is open to any students who want to attend — whether they identify as LGBTQ or not — from eighth graders to seniors in high school.
The dance will be chaperoned and monitored by club volunteers, and attendees won’t be allowed to just come and go; if they leave the property, they won’t be allowed back in.
Music will be provided by DJ Lumpy, who just as in the first LGBTQ+ Ball a year ago will be providing his services for free in support of the event’s cause.
There will be food and beverages available during the dance as well.