WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Music and all the colors of the rainbow filled the Cox Science Center and Aquarium on Friday.
"It definitely brings up a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community, because normally you have the prom king and queen, whereas here we all kind of just get to be no matter what we are," said 14-year-old LGBTQ+ youth Bella Blount.
This as more than 130 LGBTQ+ youths registered for the Compass Center's Equality Prom.
"I'm having a lot of fun tonight and I really would recommend whether it's campus or another place finding community and your area that you can have fun with," said Blount.
Proms are typically a way for students to celebrate the end of a school year but for youths like Sol Lima, it's a time to reflect on a year of advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights.
"It was always part of me that I wanted to advocate for people like me and especially people that maybe weren't as, like, extroverted as me or, like, didn't have the space to talk about their lives and what they've gone through, so I think it's really good to be a voice for the people who don't have that," said 19-year-old LGBTQ+ youth Lima.
Lima went to Tallahassee in March to rally against the Parental Rights in Education Bill, which opponents called the "Don't Say Gay" law.
"Even going into it, we knew that it would be a tough battle to fight and, you know, even if we didn't win that one, it still looks bright because there was so many people out there supporting," said Lima.
Staff with Compass said in the last year they've seen an increase in parents and grandparents searching for ways to support their LGBTQ+ youth.
"Wherever you are in the journey of acceptance or understanding, we are there to help you along the way, because we just want each person to be able to be healthy and happy and, you know, have a great successful life," said Amanda Canete, the youth and family services director with the Compass Center.