GSA Ball 2022: Royalty and Regalia

Andover’s Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) celebrated the start of GSA Weekend with their second annual GSA Ball hosted in Paresky Commons. For this year’s theme, GSA celebrated royalty. Brimming with glitzy decor, dancing, and fashion, many went all-out for the night.

GSA board member Max Berkenblit ’24 described what made the event special and shared why he is grateful for a queer orientated space. Contrasting the ball with other dances on campus, Berkenblit explained that GSA ball tried to center queer students.

“The overall vibe was definitely really chill and fun. It wasn’t too crowded, so everyone had their own little space and vibe…. This event is definitely special because of who it’s intended for. A lot of dances especially on campus emphasize couples dances and specifically cis-het students’ enjoyment whereas the GSA Ball really tries to go against that and make the event for queer students,” said Berkenblit.

Fashion was also a centerpiece at GSA ball, with many making custom pieces or planning their outfits weeks in advance. Berkenbilt, for instance, paired a ruffled shirt, black pants, and Doc Martens, with a crown he made in the Makerspace.

“My outfit was inspired by the theme, and honestly by the time crunch! I just used clothing that I already had and made a crown in the Makerspace to differentiate it,” said Berkenbilt.

However some attendees found the royalty theme to be restrictive. Min Beharry ’24 decided to wear two outfits and added a touch of their own culture. Beharry’s goal was to show different parts of their identity in each outfit.

“I had two outfits. At first, I came in wearing gold Indian regalia. I’d been frustrated with the imperialist nature and lack of inclusion within the ball’s theme, and decided that a demonstration of my culture surpasses gender and contradicts traditional ideas of Western European royalty. My second outfit was a short black dress, with a corset and costume bear hat, featuring an aromantic flag worn as a cape. I changed because I’d [been] overstimulated by the first outfit being itchy. At first, I got to demonstrate my ethnic identity, and the second was my queer identity,” said Beharry.

First time attendees like Quin Langham ’26 expressed themselves in more unique ways. Sporting a blazer, a pair of pants, and a dog mask, Langham took a different approach to their outfit.

“I had on a blue suit and a dog mask. When my dorm mate [Solar Lu ’24] was helping me with my outfit, I saw their dog mask and put it on just for jokes, and ended up actually wearing it,” said Langham.

Langham also described the event as a space where they felt free to express themselves, in contrast to the environment at their previous school.

“I think the overall vibe was pretty hype, when all my friends recognized a song we had the most fun. I think it was just having a large safe space for anyone is really what made it unique, I’ve never really had that experience before at my previous school so this was new and exciting,” said Langham.