More than 500 Victorian university and TAFE students are expected to welcome in this year’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) in style at the first state-wide tertiary formal for LGBTI students.

The black-tie Intervarsity IDAHO Ball is being organised by the Tertiary Recreation Entertainment Victoria (TREV) for Thursday, May 16, the day before IDAHO.

TREV vice-president Renee Thompson said the organisation was excited to hold the formal.

“This is an important event that will help queer youth from across Victoria connect with each other and will enable those who never got a chance to take a same-sex partner to their school formal to finally do so,” she said.

Students from Deakin University held their own ‘Pride Prom’ last year which was hailed a success with some 250 people attending.

Thompson said Deakin’s successful gay prom idea was floated last year at the TREV conference.

“When we were in discussions at the TREV conference last year, we were discussing new initiatives and updating new events and activities we could run for students,” she said.

“Some of the events we had been running for years and years and hadn’t really changed… a staff member from Deakin University suggested we try do a Victoria-wide university pride prom but we decided to change the name so we didn’t completely take Deakin’s idea.

“The queer communities on campus seem to be quite close knit anyway, so everybody seems to know each other. Everybody thought it would be great to mingle amongst all of the other queer students as well.”

TREV is working with universities and queer collectives at various institutions to help plan and run the event.

Universities who have contributed so far include Deakin, Victoria, RMIT, Melbourne and the Monash Clayton campus.

The event will also be open to friends of tertiary students.

We’re not going to say it’s strictly for university and TAFE students but that’s the market it’s aimed at,” Thompson said.

Thompson said it also gave LGBTI students a chance to finally take a same-sex partner to a formal if they missed out at high school.

RMIT queer officer Michael Kean agreed.

“Some students don’t get to experience the high school formal they deserve, so it’s awesome to see tertiary institutions advocating for progression and diversity with a same-sex formal,” Kean said.

The Intervarsity IDAHO Ball is on May 16 at Roxanne nightclub from 9pm-3am.

INFO: tinyurl.com/trevidahoball

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