Prom is a rite of passage for many youth in North America. Whether for strict policies or non-progressive attitudes towards gender and sexuality, many young people do not feel comfortable or are simply not able to attend their own high school prom. One organization seeks to challenge this mentality. The Boston Alliance of Gay Lesbian Youth (BAGLY) holds an annual prom for young people who feel like outsiders within their own youth culture. Photographer Zoe Perry-Wood has been documenting BAGLY events for the past six years. The BAGLY Prom is based on the hope that one day such an event may not be necessary.
Not unlike a typical prom portrait, the photos capture hand in hand couples and individual attendees on one of the most memorable nights of their lives. They showcase LGBT self-expression and celebrate their courage and imagination. The lives of these youth hang in a delicate balance between increasingly widespread acceptance while still facing oppression. BAGLY gives these youth a chance to attend a prom without fear of prejudice, and most importantly, a space where they can be themselves.