Gay Prom UK will hit London next weekend for an evening of dressing up and getting down on the dance floor for gay 16 – 19 year olds.

Based on successful events run in Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles, the organisers hope to send a positive message to gay teens struggling to come to terms with their sexuality that it’s perfectly normal to be gay.

Unlike the American proms, however, the event will not be taking place in a gymnasium or school hall, but in London’s glitzy Astor Bar and Grill, more used to hosting A list celebrity parties than teenage get-togethers.

The prom is being organised by a committee of 5 teenagers, under the mentorship of gay business guru Ivan Massow and lesbian icon Amy Lamé who is also hosting the event. Although it’s taking place in London, teenagers from all over the country will be taking part. The chairman of the prom committee, Arfur Davison-Sharp who comes from Lydney in Gloucestershire, said “We hope to have an attendance of 350. There is a lot of interest in this event from all over the country.”

Although alcohol will be served at the event, there will be a strict ID policy.

“You have to give the 18 and 19 year olds what they want,” Mr Davison-Sharp said, “but personally, I am against a bar.”

“Gay Proms are becoming very popular in the United States and are seen as an important step for teenagers to learn about relationships and courtship,” said Massow.

“Unlike their straight contemporaries there isn’t the learning experience of the school disco era. The idea of a gay prom is to provide an opportunity for gay teenagers learn about relationships in a safe environment.”

Gay Prom UK 2006 is on Sunday July 16 at the Astor Bar and Grill, Glasshouse Street, London, from 7pm to midnight. Advance tickets are £7 (£10 on the door). Note: this event is strictly for the 16-19 age group. It is a ‘straight friendly’ event so friends are very welcome.

For information on tickets, call 0208 741 7198, or visit the Gay Prom 2006 website