Creatures of the Night MasQueerade

Creatures+of+the+Night+dancing+in+the+Salt+Lake+City+Public+Library.

Bailey Van Wagoner

Creatures of the Night dancing in the Salt Lake City Public Library.

Bailey Van Wagoner, Business Manager, Managing Editor, Web Editor

Each December, the Utah Pride Center organizes a MasQueerade for LGBTQ+ youth to celebrate their individuality in a safe, welcoming space. For the 5th Annual MasQueerade on December 8th, the theme was Creatures of the Night, and it was held at the Salt Lake City Public Library.

This year’s event pulled out all the stops. A DJ played music on the dance floor, psychics gave tarot card readings, Gallivan photography took professional photos of attendees, volunteers handed out desserts and mocktails, and drag performers entertained the audience with colorful costumes and flashy routines. Just as important as the amusement the event offered was its value to the youth in attendance.

Utahn youth from ages 14 to 20 come from across the state in order to find an environment in which they are comfortable expressing themselves. For LGBTQ+ youth, this isn’t always available at their own school dances or events. The MasQueerade and the Queer Prom that the Pride Center put on each year provide that safe place some students are missing. One Copper Hills junior at the dance said, “The MasQueerade meant the world to me. I didn’t suddenly have to hide a part of myself, instead, it was celebrated. I love that.”

In addition to an entertaining, loving environment, the event also provided information that proves to be valuable for LGBTQ+ youth. Volunteers stood at the door and handed each person a packet on their way out of the building. This packet detailed the background of the event, the people involved in making it happen, information about future programs, and a section of resources. These pages listed contact information for organizations committed to help teenagers just like those who attended: The Trevor Project, University of Utah LGBT Resource Center, Utah Office for Victims of Crime, National Suicide Prevention Hotline (along with other hotlines), SafeUT, Our Voices Youth Coalition, Way to Quit, and Salt Lake County Youth Services.

According to their website, the Utah Pride Center has worked since 1992 to create an organization which “unites, empowers and celebrates Utah’s diverse LGBTQ+ community by providing a safe and welcoming space for education, partnerships, services and events which advance our collective health, wellness and success.” It is clear from the atmosphere of the MasQueerade that they have accomplished just that.