LGBTI+ Formal for Teens (CLOSED)

(Please note! This event has an age limit of 15-18!) 
My name is Madeline Kenny and I'm 18 and part of a teenage Facebook group called Rainbow Kids. Our group is a LGBTQ+ group aiming to support young teenagers who struggle with their sexuality and identity. We currently have 600 members, and are growing at an unprecedented rate. We are a NSW, Australia based group however many of our members come from all over Australia!
With so many members of our group being disallowed to go to their school formals, whether it be due to their gender identity (or lack thereof) or sexuality (not allowing to bring a same sex partner) many of the individuals in our group didn't experience a formal. With this in mind, an idea was born - we could organise a safe, inclusive formal for queer teens all across the greater Sydney area! It started off as a single group chat with lots of excited replies in capital letters and then we created an event with now over 150+ people and growing who are attending.
I have heard stories from multiple people within our group, especially trans* kids, who weren't allowed to go to their formal wearing a dress or a suit due to the dress code regulations - and most frightening, the social stigma around trans* individuals and the LGBTQ+ community. There have been countless tales of abuse, emotional, physical, surrounding people within our group.
Mental health issues are rampant and growing within the LGBTQ+ community, especially teenagers, and we are trying to provide a safe space for these teens to have a wonderful formal, one where they can wear what they want and not be afraid of the social backlash or what their friends would think. For one night, everything would slot into place and become perfect,  it would be a truly inclusive, amazing environment for people to grow and nurture themselves and others in. 
However, as we are mostly young, we realised that we had insufficient funds to start organising this formal. We tried to fundraise, as we hold meet ups monthly in parks and bring picnic rugs and food to make friends.
I know these meet ups have benefitted so many people, especially myself, as I was shy and an introvert, socially awkward and afraid of interacting with other people my age. However people from the beginning were so accepting of me, hugging me, complimenting me. I have seen so much love radiate from our small (but growing) commmunity, and it is incredibly touching to see so many young teens band together in the face of social stigma surrounding LGBTQ+ individuals. 
However, our fundraising was partially successful, we only raised around $100. It was a big amount for us, but it wasn't enough. 
The money will be used primarily for venue hire and catering. We are hoping to book Paddington Town Hall in central Sydney, Australia. It's a city run events building that can hold 500 people, however, the costs are broken down like this.
Note! We are currently selling tickets to the formal on Eventbrite for the teens who can pay for the formal. We have standard tickets running at 30 dollars, and reduced ones at 10 dollars. We have encouraged every person attending to pay what they can or donate (and this becomes a ticket, no matter what they donate) but we are largely relying on crowdsourcing for funding! We have only sold 21 tickets!)
These are rough estimates!

- Booking fee for the venue - $4,000+ (including a deposit) (public liability insurance valuing up to 20 million dollars is included in this) 
- Catering - $1000
- Lighting and sound production (including speakers) - $1000 (however could be included in the package)
- Security for the venue and paying the adults who staff the event - $1000
These are rough estimates, however a grand total of ~6,000 dollars or more would be incredibly useful in aiding us to make this dream come true. 
The formal takes place on the 19th of November, 2016. (however the dates are flexible!) We need to finalise bookings relatively soon, within the next couple months. However we will be accepting donations right up until the day of the formal. 
This would mean so much to every single person attending and to our entire group because you would be contributing to giving disadvantaged queer teens a chance to shine and sparkle for one super radical night. 
I can speak on behalf of all the members from the Rainbow Kids group in that we are extremely thankful for any and all donations we get - even if the formal doesn't happen the way we have planned it, the main focus is that it's still happening. 
If you could spare even a dollar, we would be eternally grateful. I have been getting messages constantly for the past couple of days about how excited people are, about how they can finally be themselves, and have a night FOR themselves, and bring whoever they want, regardless of gender identity or sexuality. This opportunity is a golden, rare one and we aren't going to let it slip from out of our fingers. 
We have currently hired a photographer, and photos will be available on the night as paid-for prints, as we have a photobooth. 
As always, if you have any questions or queries, don't hesitate to contact me. I am completely open about this and I will definitely show receipts to prove that the money has gone where I promised it would.  Please see the link at the top of the description for proof of this! 
Thank you all so much for your time reading this. Thank you for understanding how important an inclusive safe space is for LGBTQ+ youth. Thank you for making our dreams come true. Thank you so much.


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Madeline Kenny 
Newtown, NSW

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