LINCOLN COUNTY, S.D. (KELO)– Forty years ago this month, KELOLAND News covered Randy Rohl attending Lincoln High School’s prom as an openly gay student: according to the National Gay Task Force in 1979, Randy Rohl and his date’s attendance at the Lincoln High prom that year was the first time ever in the United States that two acknowledged gay people went to a high school prom together. On Friday Sioux Falls Pride held the first-ever Randy Rohl Youth Prom for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender kids, as well as their allies.
It’s a joyful celebration in Lincoln County.
“It’s one thing to go enjoy dancing the night away, but it’s another thing to do that in a minority community that gets criticized, and be able to go to a place, and enjoy that, without worrying about someone saying anything,” said Boots Parker, community action liaison with Sioux Falls Pride.
“It feels really great ’cause, I know sometimes high school proms aren’t great for people that identify as LGBT,” attendee Brianna Hollestelle said.
On Friday KELOLAND News was careful to not show faces in this report because some of the young people have not come out to their parents.
“I actually helped organize this event last year, but we couldn’t get the funding in time, so I thought I would come out and support the cause,” Hollestelle said.
“I have gotten phone calls, emails, messages of people saying, ‘Thank you for doing this,'” Parker said. “We’ve had parents that are chaperones saying, ‘My kid hasn’t stopped talking about this since they found out about it.'”