Middle school resumes Wallflower Dance for LGBTQ+ youth


Maegan Vincent

Students celebrate pride with rainbow pride cake. On Saturday, a local Dillons donated a two-tiered pride-themed cake for Wichita Pride’s Wallflower Dance.

Wichita Pride has been working for years to provide a safe environment for members of the LGBTQ+ community in the Wichita area. On Saturday, Sept. 17, Robinson Middle School hosted Wichita Pride’s Wallflower Dance, an event for young members of the LGBTQ+ community. Anyone between sixth and twelfth grade was welcome to partake in dancing, pizza and cake.

“It’s really wonderful being an older member of the community and seeing young members of the LGBTQ+ community get this kind of welcome,” Jim Hall, President of Wichita Pride, said. “When I was this age, this didn’t exist. I mean, we just didn’t talk about it. I had no idea who I was. And to see these kids get to be themselves and see them have a lot of fun is everything.”

This event, open to kids from all over the state, really only had one goal: to provide a safe and inviting space for young members of the LGBTQ+ community that might not always have access to such a safe space.

“It’s important for people, especially kids, to feel understood and to feel heard,” Hall said. “That’s what this dance is really about: to just help provide a space where kids can connect with other members of their community and feel safe and loved.”

Earlier that Saturday, Robinson Middle School hosted GLSEN’s state-wide Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) youth summit. This summit offered kids an opportunity to connect with other young members of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as educators and student leaders from GSA clubs throughout Kansas. Some students who attended this summit attended the dance. In fact, GLSEN Kansas’s president Will Rapp stayed and volunteered his musical talents and DJ’d the dance.

The first Wallflower Dance happened in 2019 and would have become an annual event if not for the COVID-19 pandemic. The first Wallflower Dance was hosted by Mayberry Middle School, where roughly 100 kids from all over the state attended. This year marks the 2nd Wallflower Dance Wichita Pride has hosted, and it’s sure to be on calendars for years to come.