Over 100 students throw trans prom in front of US Capitol

The youth-led event centred transgender joy and liberation, with students travelling from 16 states to attend.

Four students wearing gender-affirming clothing stand in front of capitol building for their trans youth prom.
Image: Twitter @Queen_Lily_____

On Monday, May 22, roughly 150 transgender and non-binary kids gathered in Washington, DC to attend Trans Youth Prom, an event centring trans joy and liberation. The prom was held in front of the Capitol building, and students travelled from 16 states to attend.

The event was created by four trans teens: 13-year-old Libby Gonzales, 15-year-old Daniel Trujillo, 12-year-old Grayson McFerrin and 16-year-old Hobbes Chukumba, with the intention of celebrating trans kids as an act of resistance against the nationwide attacks on the queer community. The prom was held outside, and much of the decor was 1970s-themed, referencing the 1969 Stonewall uprising.

Organiser Daniel Trujillo has been advocating for trans rights since he was nine years old, when he started addressing state legislators on the Arizona Senate floor and testifying against anti-trans bills. He hoped the Trans Youth Prom project would help combat the stress of recent anti-trans legislation.

He said: “Trans Prom is a big statement of what schools and public life would be like if trans people were celebrated and protected.”


Hobbes travelled from New Jersey, a blue state, to attend the prom. While his school supports his identity and always updates student IDs to reflect pupils’ correct names and genders, Hobbes told VICE News: “Even though I’m not directly struggling…I feel the pain and the struggle that the rest have to go through, because that’s what it means to be part of a community.”

Many of the organisers’ parents are members of the Parents for Transgender Equality Council at the Human Rights Campaign, and they were thankful and proud to be able to celebrate their children at this American rite of passage event. All participants were invited to walk through a “Tunnel of Love” where guests cheered and held signs reading “Trans kids have always existed” and “Trans youth are powerful.”


So far in 2023, over 500 anti-trans bills have been implemented across the US, more than the past four years combined, according to a tally by the Washington Post. While debates about transgender legislation can negatively impact the mental health of trans and non-binary students, events like this allow them to take their power back.

In their speech, Gonzales said: “We want to be clear that no one made us trans or non-binary. Not our parents, not our schools, not the internet, not our friends. We don’t want to make other people like us, but we do want to find community and grow and learn from other kids that are like us.”

Grayson hopes that transgender youth felt loved and powerful after attending the event, telling HuffPost: “The intended purpose of the Trans prom is to show that no matter what happens, we still have reasons to celebrate. Trans prom is about the fact that we are here and we will always be here regardless of laws.”

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