LONGMEADOW — High school students around the country are preparing as prom season approaches, but not everyone looks forward to their prom. For members of the LGBTQ+ community, there can be anxiety and apprehension around being their authentic self at such a momentous occasion. One high school student is trying to create a solution.

Trevi Sandberg, a junior at Longmeadow High School, is working toward her Girl Scouts Gold Award. According to girlscouts.org, a Gold Award is achieved by scouts who “help fix a problem in their community or make a lasting change.”

With prom season right around the corner and family members and friends that identify as LGBTQ+, she decided to create a prom experience that removes the added concerns of that community.

Sandberg, who will attend her high school prom in 2025, partnered with the Longmeadow Pride Alliance to make the prom a lasting, annual event that would continue after her involvement ends. The Longmeadow Pride Alliance is a nonprofit that began in 2021 to address inequities experienced by the LGBTQ+ people in the area and raise awareness of the community.

Longmeadow Pride Alliance Vice President Elizabeth Morgan said the goal of the Pride Prom is “making sure there is an opportunity for students to express themselves authentically” and enjoy the prom “rite of passage.”

The Pride Prom will offer a welcoming, inclusive space for high school students or college-age people from Longmeadow and surrounding communities, Morgan said. The prom is open to all, and prom-goers do not need to identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but the focus is on those who may not have been comfortable attending their prom, she said. Morgan explained that many people in that community have felt unable to attend proms and school dances because of restrictions or judgments about what students are allowed to wear or the gender of their dates, although she noted she was unaware of such restrictions at Longmeadow High School.

Sandberg noted that the pressure is not necessarily from the school. “There’s a lot of parental pressure,” she said.

Sandberg began planning in earnest about one month ago. There was a lot of work to be done for the project, including finding a venue and a band — she booked her friend’s band, Yogurt Night.

The Pride Prom will take place on April 6, from 7:30-10 p.m. at the Longmeadow Adult Center, 211 Maple St. Morgan said that the venue was chosen because the high school was too expensive for the budget and the Longmeadow Adult Center is an appropriate size. Sandberg said she is hoping for a turnout of about 60 people.

Tickets for the Pride Prom are available for $5 via Venmo at tinyurl.com/y6s34d46 and $10 at the door.

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