Hayward Gay Prom

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The Hayward Gay Prom is a dance held for LGBT youth. It takes place in Hayward, California every year, and was established in 1995.


The Hayward Gay Prom is one of the oldest continually running gay proms in the United States. Ken Athey, a gay man and youth counsellor, founded the event. According to Athey, his goal was to create a safe space for LGBT youth to enjoy prom without discrimination.[1]

It has been held at Centennial Hall and Chabot College.[2]

Students aged up to 20 years old may attend the event.[3] Many LGBTQ organizations attend and conduct outreach and facilitate activities at the prom. Everyone is welcome, and parents are encouraged to attend or volunteer in support of their children.[3] In 2014, the director for Project Eden predicted that more than 300 youth aged 14 to 20 would be attending the prom that year.[2]

A documentary film on the prom, Now We Can Dance: The Story of the Hayward Gay Prom, was created and shown at the 2013 San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]


The Hayward Gay Prom is an alternative prom where students can celebrate without fear of discrimination. The director for Project Eden stated, "It's a needed event because the young people need a place to go to where they feel safe and accepted".[13]


When the event was first established, people in opposition of the prom sported homophobic signs and wore rubber gloves and masks, a common anti-gay protest tactic utilized in the '90s. Local law enforcement and older LGBTQ members had to stand in between protesters and the prom attendees.[13] Attendees were forced to run inside the event, and some kids opted not to attend the prom in order to avoid harassment they experienced in school from students and teachers. When the organization changed the location of the prom the number of protesters decreased, and for the first time at the 20th annual Hayward Gay Prom there were zero protesters.[13] The overall acceptance and support for the event and the community is increasing.


  1. ^ "Now We Can Dance: The Story of the Hayward Gay Prom - short version (17 min)".
  2. ^ a b "Hayward gay prom Saturday". 5 June 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Bay Area Reporter :: Article.PHP".
  4. ^ "Watch Hayward's Gay Prom - Beginnings & City Council Meeting | Hayward Digital Stories Episodes | Videos | Blip". Blip.tv. 2007-10-25. Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-09-07.
  5. ^ Rebecca ParrThe Daily Review (13 June 2013). "San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival includes Hayward gay prom documentary - San Jose Mercury News". Mercurynews.com. Retrieved 2013-09-07.
  6. ^ "Lodi News-Sentinel - Google News Archive Search".
  7. ^ "Prom For Gay Students Attracts 100 In California - Orlando Sentinel". Articles.orlandosentinel.com. 1995-07-02. Retrieved 2013-09-07.
  8. ^ "Library as Filmmaker: Documenting the Creation of a California Town's Gay Prom". Lj.libraryjournal.com. 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2013-09-07.
  9. ^ "Gay prom goes smoothly despite threats". Inside Bay Area. 2006-04-14. Retrieved 2013-09-07.
  10. ^ "Project Eden, San Mateo, CA, Horizon Services". Horizonservices.org. Retrieved 2013-09-07.
  11. ^ "Library Director's Blog » Blog Archive » "Now We Can Dance" — a documentary about the Hayward Gay Prom". Hayward-ca.gov. 2012-12-12. Archived from the original on 2013-08-17. Retrieved 2013-09-07.
  12. ^ compiled by Cynthia Laird (2010-05-27). "News in brief: LGBT youth proms in SF, East Bay". Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  13. ^ a b c "Fabulous photos from America's longest-running gay prom".

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