By Josh Saunders
A student has hosted an LGBT prom for her transgender boyfriend who never attended and to help other bullied teens.
Charlotte Lewin, 17, North Fort Myers in Florida, USA, launched the event after hearing of offensive actions toward friends, from being called ‘f*****’ to being victimised and pelted with food.
At the event on March 30th, there were around 60 in attendance from different nearby schools, drag queens and a dance-off to decide the prom kings and queens.
She threw the event after fundraising $1,000 and a nearby church letting her use the room for free.
Determined to help those in the LGBT community who felt uncomfortable at prom due to daily verbal abuse and for boyfriend David, 18, who is transgender and never went to prom.
She described the event as ‘magical’ and now is fundraising for next year’s event, hoping to give people of the community a ‘normal high school experience’.
Charlotte, who is going into 12th grade, said: “A lot of my friends and closest loved ones are in the LGBTQ community, they face a lot of discrimination and it’s difficult to see them going through that.
“I have been through difficulties, as have my friends, one who is a trans man went to high school prom in his tuxedo and had food thrown at him.
“He was being ridiculed and asked why he was wearing a tux when he was a girl, other gay friends are called f***** on a regular basis.
“He never went to any of his high school proms, he never had any interest and was afraid to go.
“I decided to help the community as much as I could because a lot of the LGBT people haven’t had a great experience at their high school proms before.
“I felt if I created a separate prom for the community it wouldn’t be difficult, and they wouldn’t have to experience the judgement of other kids.
“It was one of the best experiences I have ever had, everyone was so happy and there was so much love.
“It was magical. When people started coming in they all had smiles on their faces and were so excited to meet other people.
“There were two prom kings who were boyfriends and two prom queens who only met each other for the first time, it was a really fun time.
“Everyone was dancing, no one was standing in the corners, it inspired me to do more for the community.”
From previous high school dances, Charlotte felt there was a lot of judgement towards the LGBT community.
After the success of her event, she decided not to go to the ‘normal’ high school prom but does not regret it.
Charlotte said: “It’s hard within high school, if you’re different than anyone else you stand out, then when you stand out you get ridiculed as you’re the outsider.
“I didn’t attend the normal prom, I had so much fun at the LGBT prom that I didn’t feel it was worth going to my one as it wouldn’t be the same experience.
“When you go to a normal high school prom no one really shares that same identity that the community does, you go in as an individual rather than a family.”
Charlotte and boyfriend David have experienced judgement over their relationship when showing affection in public, but she insists she felt unaffected.
She hopes that other schools will consider creating a LGBT prom too.
Charlotte added: “When we went on vacation together people would stare at us, but I don’t care, I’m happy and it’s none of anyone else’s business.
“I would really encourage others to do the same, if more high schools that have LGBT proms, more people will feel normal at school and it allows us to experience these things like everybody else.
“It was extremely rewarding, I have never felt so happy in my entire life and grateful to have been able to help so many people.”
Now Charlotte is fundraising for next year’s LGBT prom and hopes it will be just as much of as success as her event this year.
She added: “It was so rewarding having people come up to me and thanking me for doing it for them – it made me want to do it again and inspire others to do it in future.
“I’m really happy that I did this and it’s inspired me to do more for the community, I hope next year’s prom comes to fruition and is just as amazing.”
You can donate here: www.gofundme.com/leecountylgbtqprom