GLSEN prom to be a 'Safe Space' for all

CINCINNATI - While prom is a certain rite of passage for high school students, one group is taking a different approach to the traditional dance.

While "T" Chandler, a student at Amelia High School, plans on attending her school prom, it isn't the prom she's most excited about.

"GLSEN's prom you can bring whoever and you can dress however," T said.

GLSEN, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, was banned from the St. Patrick's Day Parade in March because of their name.

"Whether it said gay or lesbian, it really shouldn't have mattered," T said. "GLSEN isn't just about gay and lesbian. It's about being inclusive and supporting and recognizing everyone."

This year, GLSEN is throwing its own prom and "Safe Space Soiree" on April 13.

T, who tries to avoid using personal pronouns, says nevertheless, her date is a bit nervous.

"This is the first time going," T said. "And they seem to be a little shy. But I told them, I think they'll have a lot of fun."

T's mom, Antinia Chandler, is going to the same event, and not as a chaperone.

"It gives us a chance to kind of reclaim some of our youth, being able to do this," Antinia said. "It's a wonderful experience."

Neither Antinia or T want GLSEN to be known as the group that was kicked out of a parade. They see it as an anti-bullying advocate for all teens that just happens to stick up for those who may be bullied the most.

"It's teaching them that it's OK to be who they are," Antinia said. "They don't have to be closeted, they don't have to be ashamed of it. They need to love themselves, they need to be happy in their own skin."

For T, it's a mission accomplished.

"It's awesome to see everybody that happy," T said.

For more information on GLSEN's prom and soiree, click here: http://www.glsencincinnatiprom.com/

9 On Your Side reporter Scott Wegener contributed to this report.

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