Hayward's Lambda Gay Prom is celebrating its 20th year Saturday.

The Hayward prom is believed to be one of the longest continuously running dances held for gay youth. It was the subject of a 2011 documentary, "Now We Can Dance: The Story of the Hayward Gay Prom." The documentary was made by three Hayward librarians and a group of teenagers, who interviewed young people attending that prom and civic leaders who helped organize the first dance.

The annual event was started by Project Eden's Lambda Youth Project to allow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual young people and their friends to experience a high school prom in a safe environment. More than 300 young people ages 14 to 20 from throughout Northern California are expected to attend, said a project director for Project Eden.

 Young people attending the 2011 Hayward gay prom are interviewed for a documentary on the history of the dance. (Hayward Public Library)
Young people attending the 2011 Hayward gay prom are interviewed for a documentary on the history of the dance. (Hayward Public Library)

The theme for this year's prom is Rainbow Over Wonderland, Rochelle Collins said. The dance will be held again at Chabot College, where it moved some years ago after its former site, Centennial Hall near downtown, was razed. Since moving to the college, the number of protesters at the dance has dropped.

"We have a small number of protesters; one year we only had one. But we have a large number of supporters who greet the youth when they arrive," Collins said.

Other area Gay Pride Month events include a film screening in San Leandro and Castro Valley Pride, a grass-roots festival.


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San Leandro will screen the movie "Far From Heaven" at 1 p.m. Saturday at the San Leandro History Museum. The movie, starring Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid, is set in the 1950s and deals with race, gender roles, sexual orientation and class. The free screening takes place at 320 W. Estudillo Ave. Information is available from Mary Beth Barloga at 510-577-3992 or email mbarloga@sanleandro.org.

Castro Valley Pride takes place from noon to 5 p.m. July 12 at Castro Valley High School, 19400 Santa Maria Ave. The festival has grown each year since it was started in 2011 by a group of high school students who used social media to attract about 300 people for the first event. Last year, hundreds attended the festival, which included more than 40 vendors and food trucks.

For more information, email castrovalleypride@gmail.com or go to Facebook.com/cvpride.

Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473 or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.

Hayward Gay Prom
When: 7 p.m.-midnight Saturday
Where: Chabot College cafeteria, 25555 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward
Admission: $25, or $20 for groups of 10 or more; pay at the door or contact Project Eden.
Details: 510-247-8200, www.gayprom.org