Vince Cardenas / The Paisano
Laughter, applause and music filled the ballroom galleria of H-E-B University Center South on April 12 as students made their way to the end-of-the-year event of choice—Second Chance Prom.The 3rd annual Second Chance Prom is an event created by the GLBTQ to give UTSA and local high school students a chance to attend prom with whomever they choose — free from judgment or persecution.“A few of our members had discussed how they were denied access or weren’t allowed to go to their proms as an official date with their partner,” explains Roy Garza, an undeclared freshman and the event’s organizer and coordinator. “We wanted to do something about it.”Due to the amount of discrimination against same-sex couples attending proms throughout the country, the group felt that creating another prom would be fitting in order to have a safe and friendly space. Many students are not comfortable — or allowed, in some instances — to attend their prom with their partner of choice.“(In high school) I just went with friends,” recalls Joseph Salinas, a sophomore pre-biology major. “I just avoided that whole fiasco of taking somebody that would have caused a stir, so Second Chance Prom here on campus is a very unique opportunity that I’m very thankful for.”Second Chance Prom was one of GLBTQ’s main events and doubled as a closing event for the academic year for the group as well.“It’s been great and it grows every year,” says Garza. “More and more people attend despite us not being able to advertise in high schools. We do keep it a public event so if high school students do want a second chance, they can come here and be loved.”This was evident, as more and more students arrived, some in more casual dress and others in the ensemble of his or her choice. This year’s theme was “Alice in Wonderland,” and mushrooms, card soldiers and flowers adorned the walls of the ballroom while red balloons bounced around the floor.“It’s a really good idea; I love what the group did,” says John Poplawsky, a senior anthropology major. “I’m really proud that this actually happens at UTSA.”GLBTQ is one of the largest groups at UTSA with roughly 100 active members. The group consists of four different committees: social, political, fundraising and QT or queer and trans, each focusing on that particular aspect of the group. Members of GLBTQ can choose to be active in whichever committee piques their interest, but many of the members are active across each committee.“The GLBTQ promotes the well-being and equal treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer and any other sexual or gendered students on campus,” explains Sarah Price, a senior anthropology major and the group’s current president.“We try to hit the political aspects of the community; we try to hit the social aspects and we also try to educate people about the lesser known identities such as transgendered and queer,” says Price.With the close of another successful Second Chance Prom, students can anticipate the event to return next year. The event will be open and free to the public, as it has been in past years.“Everybody is welcome,” says Garza. “Free food, awesome music and admission is free. What’s not to love?”GLBTQ has an open-to-the-public general meeting every Wednesday at 7 p.m., with its final meeting for the spring semester on May 1. For more information on GLBTQ, visit facebook.com/GLBTQ-of-UTSA.