For many LGBT Senior Citizens who grew up in a very different time, coming out was something that happened much, much later in life. Many have lost their families, their friends, even their partners, and our annual Prom is something looked forward to with great excitement. Dinner, dancing, flirting, and laughs are all topped off by capturing their photo in our YPC sponsored photo booth.
The Los Angeles Times was on hand to capture this magical evening.
"For his high school prom in 1942, Robert Clement bought a white orchid corsage in a fancy plastic box.
He gave it to a female staff member who organized the dance. Others would think it was a kind gesture, that he was just a considerate young man. In truth, Clement didn't have anyone else to give it to.
He liked boys. And he couldn't take a boy to the prom. Especially not seven decades ago in a small town in Pennsylvania.
"Proms are a rite of passage," Clement said. "A heterosexual rite of passage.... But it wasn't mine."
Last weekend, just one day after gay marriage became legal once more in California, Clement found himself getting dressed up for the prom again — the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center's senior prom.
He's 88 now. He has thinning gray hair and wrinkles around his blue eyes. And a party shirt."
Spending my time working with the YPC and The Center is not something I do because I want something in return. I do, simply because I can. Seeing all the smiling faces at The Prom instantly make it all worth it.
The video below demonstrates the immense courage these individuals had in a time when just being yourself could land you in prison, or worse. Take a minute to watch and learn, and most importantly, be thankful.