YSUnity’s Diversity Prom Honors Personal Heroes

By Billy Ludt

YSUnity’s third annual Diversity Prom is Friday from 7 to 10 p.m. in the Chestnut Room of Kilcawley Center.

Tim Bortner has been the president of YSUnity, the Youngstown State University LGBTQIA organization, since 2012.

This year’s theme for the Diversity Prom is “unleash the superhero from within,” but that does not mean attendees must necessarily dress up as superheroes. The prom finishes up the week of activities for this year’s Coming Out Week.

“It’s not just in a sense of superheroes,” Bortner said. “It’s kind of like your hero growing up. Like if it was an author, a family member. We want you to come dressed as your hero, and, of course, super heroes work.”

The first year YSUnity organized the Diversity Prom, dress was formal and it was set in a 1920s freak show tent. Last year’s prom was a Hollywood movie theme.

“This year we took a different approach with it,” Bortner said.

Before the prom begins, YSUnity is also hosting their first Diversity Dinner.

The dinner is a full course meal and the ticket includes admission to the Diversity Prom. Tickets are available all day Wednesday and are $30. The dinner begins at 5 p.m.

The dinner was organized in an effort to raise more funds for the organization. YSUnity hosts discussions, participates in World AIDs and gives away 3,000 condoms a semester.

“It’s never actually been a traditional prom,” Bortner said.

The idea for Diversity Prom stemmed from same-sex couples in high school not being allowed to take their significant other to prom.

YSUnity has partnered with Alpha Psi Omega, the YSU theater honors society, to put on a short performance about a child being harassed in school during the prom for, as Bortner put it, being who they are.

“We always have a great support team from our departments on campus,” Bortner said. “I don’t know what we would do without Student Activities or Kilcawley Center helping us every year.”

The Diversity Prom is also sponsored by the Student Government Association, the Department of Campus Recreation, Kilcawley Center, University Events, the Office of Student Diversity Programs, Housing & Residence Life and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program.

Admission to the prom is $10. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door. Every person who walks through the door has a chance to win prizes. There will be finger foods and refreshments, a dance floor, a superhero photo shoot and a DJ.