On a recent Saturday, the Transinclusive Group completely shut down Wilton Manors in a big way. Its second annual all inclusive prom was held at The Venue. If you attended last year and not this year, prepare to be impressed, maybe even a little jealous.
First off, let’s talk about the decor. One word to describe it would be "heavenly." After guests slayed the red carpet, they were greeted inside by bright lights that flawlessly bounced off each wall, luxurious feather center pieces, and an array of festive colors. At around 7:30 p.m. the open bar started. This gave guests an opportunity to mingle and check out each other’s outfits. Last year's fashion was pretty stellar — it was Transinclusive's first prom so everybody wanted to make a statement. Well, let's just say that this year the bar was raised even higher. Two of the biggest trends on the red carpet were huge ball gowns and long trains.
Food for the event was catered by The Venue and it did not disappoint. Some of the menu items included Fusilli Corti ai Carciofi — short corkscrew pasta with Italian artichoke hearts, garlic, parmigiana, and red chili flakes. Attendees were also treated to a Mediterranean station and a southern style station, featuring fried chicken, old fashioned collard greens, and so much more.
DJ Terry totally stole the show after the food was served. Guests were practically forced to the dance floor as the intro to "The Cupid Shuffle" started blasting from the speakers. Terry kept the line dance music coming as he spinned crowd favorites like "Wobble" and "The Electric Slide." There was also a special appearance from transgender actor Marquise Vilson and a special performance from Carson Graham of Transinclusive, who performed his single "Paradise." Other performers for the night were Tiana Love, Champagne T. Bordeaux, and Misty Eyes.
Nobody's prom is complete without the crowing of the royal court. Seeing as this was the second annual prom, the royal court was expanded. This year, Tyree Bright was crowned prom king while promo queen was awarded to Freya Rivera. T. Pena, a Wilton Manors resident, made history as the first winner of the Supreme category.
As you can tell, the prom was a sight to see. But the night was not all about gowns and performances. LaLa Zannell turned the mood from joyous to inspiration. She got on the mic to give words of encouragement. "We all go through things and we all go through trauma,” said Zannell in a loud voice. "We have to let trauma go, learn how to put that trauma on each other, put that trauma on the system, put trauma on ‘45,’ put that trauma on your city council members, put that trauma on your school board, put trauma on your police department, and also put your trauma on the local health care providers!”
She ended her inspiration speech by asking the audience to participate in a chant: "It is our duty to win, we must love and protect each other."
As the night slowly ended, all you could hear was the sound of people laughing and enjoying each other’s company as they exited the party.
“This prom was outstanding and is needed,” mentioned Broward native Tiffany Marrero. “This was my first Transinclusive prom. As a black girl thriving with HIV, I understand the importance and need for representation, much less a safe space to turn up! Great job to the planning committee, I’ll be back next year!”
Again, Transinclusive has showed the community that all members of the LGBT community, as well as their allies, can party together in a safe space. The group holds programs all year long, and these would not be made possible without the support of its sponsors like AIDS Healthcare Foundation(AHF), Midway Specialty Care, Midland Medical, Bona Italian Restaurant, Rosie’s, CAN Community Health, and FLUX, just to name a few.
“As you know, building a non-profit takes time,” said Tatiana Braxton, CEO and founder of Transinclusive. “We are on year two, and our supporters value and support the work we continue to provide to the community.”
TransInclusive is a trans-led organization. Its mission is to advocate and work with community partners and stakeholders in efforts to build trust and relationships with all relevant associated entities, in regards to ending discrimination and marginalization surrounding a population that has been disproportionately impacted. If you would like to become a member or to find out more information on Transinclusive Group, visit its website at transinclusive.org