Prom kings of the night: Upcoming musician Kellen Joseph controls the prom tunes as Alexander Waite enjoys his song choices.
Maywood Center for Enriched Studies

Column: Unexpected adventures led to a queer pancake prom party

Invite to Alex and Kellen’s parking lot prom July 4. (Alexander Waite, Kellen Joseph)

My grandmother’s Fourth of July carne asada quickly turned into a two-hour bus ride to an IHOP parking lot prom.

A welcoming hello from the event’s organizers, LGBTQ+ youth advocates Alexander Waite and Kellen Joseph, made for a night full of amazing prom-style outfits and new connections as queer folks gathered at the IHOP.

After receiving an invite via Instagram to “Alex and Kellen’s parking lot prom,” I knew I had to head over to West Hollywood as soon as possible. As soon as the bus turned on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, the sight of pride flags and LGBTQ+ friendly artwork made it clear I was entering a safe space of like-minded people. 


An empty IHOP on a Sunday evening quickly fills up with teenagers in prom outfits. (Photo by Kate De La Torre)
After the IHOP closed, prom party goers head out and prepare for photo a group photo. (Photo by Kate De La Torre)
After an IHOP dinner, teens celebrate queerness rather than the Fourth of July. (Photo by Kate De La Torre)
Pretty in pink: Alexander Waite poses for a photo in his bright pink $1 prom dress. (Photo by Kate De La Torre)
Friends bask in the shadows of an LED sign in West Hollywood. (Photo by Kate De La Torre)