First LGBTQ+ Ball


Alexandra Aboukhater, Staff Writer

San Diego Mesa College has put together their first LGBTQ+ Celebration Week in honor of national coming out week. For the celebration, the Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA), Fashion Club, and various students helped put together educational seminars about sexual identity, a queer artistic comic showcase, a drag queen show, and the LGBTQ+ fair. On Oct. 18, the week of fabulous festivities ended with the Spectrum Masquerade Ball, which had attendees in the groovy Halloween spirit.

Dr. Michael Harrison, co-advisor of the Mesa LGBTQ+ Safe Zone Task Force explained that the GSA wanted to organize the masquerade ball to give students the chance to attend a prom that represents all identities. Usually, high school proms award heterosexual couples, giving the titles prom king and prom queen. There are still issues of excluding non-heterosexual individuals from prom, especially from titles such as prom king or prom queen. Thus, the GSA organized the ball with a focus on the LGBTQ+ community and gender expression. Ross Stewart, the president of the GSA who helped arrange the event, explained that it took a long time since last semester to make this event happen. She also mentioned the GSA wanted to have a different event this year to help the community and create visibility. “For the masquerade itself, we just wanted to create a second chance prom, to give students maybe a prom experience they never had because of who they weren’t allowed to go with or what they couldn’t wear. We wanted to give students regardless of their sexuality a really special night.”

The ball took place in the Mesa Commons. The GSA also held a booth at the LGBTQ+ Celebration Fair on Oct. 17. That day the GSA invited students to their booth to buy ball tickets and decorate their own masquerade masks. The ball was riddled with dark but dazzling costumes and phantasmagorical spirits.

Folks were “gettin’ down” in the upstairs dance floor, while next door students could grab a meal from the open buffet. Before entering the ball, students also had the chance to get professional photos taken of themselves. Some students attending the ball really outdid themselves with their costumes. Gaib Ramirez, a Fine Arts major, had a lot to say about the event. “I really enjoyed it, I thought the food at the ball was great, as well as the beverages. Everything was well worth the price of the ticket. The DJ played good music and all around we had a good turnout!” Two students adorned themselves in spooky formal attire, complete with a sweeping red velveteen cape, a fiery dragon mask and the other, in a bronze, horn-rimmed mask, and lacey red dress. It was all a fanciful time at the Spectrum Masquerade Ball that had everyone dancing until late around 10 p.m.

There are concerns about funding another LGBTQ+ Week according to the GSA. Apparently the dean of equity will not give the GSA $10,000 like this year. However, the GSA has mentioned that they are still planning to organize the ball in the future. Ross Stewart, president of the GSA said “it will happen again for sure. The only thing we’re nervous about is the dean of equity funded us $10,000 for the whole week to happen. Next year I don’t think it will be that high. However, we have definitely talked about hosting the event again.”