Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the annual Latex Ball in New York City with this year's theme being "Year of the Legends." With more than 2,000 guests are expected to attend. The event is lauded as one of the most highly anticipated functions for the ballroom scene, which is a culture that encompasses fashion, dance, family, style and competition.
The Latex Ball won't be just fun and fanfare, in their mission to fight HIV/AIDS, GMHC will incorporate free HIV testing, HIV-prevention materials and sexual health messaging in conjuction with more than 20 community-based organizations including the New York City and State Departments of Health.
"The Latex Ball is an important public health intervention that primarily reaches Black and Latino youth and adults, who continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS," said Kelsey Louie, CEO of GMC, in a press release. "The ball taps into the creativity, resiliency, and strength of the house and ball communty, and it celebrates and encourages members to support their community health and influence mainstram culture. Together, with co-sponsors Callen Lorde, the Imperial Court of New York, and the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA), we honor all those who have participated in the Latex Ball for the pasat 25 years."
Brought to the attention of many in the 1990 doc Paris Is Burning, ball culture is now a cultural phenomenon that has garnered international appeal. The dance form voguing, a staple in the LGBT community, is in high demand with mainstream acts including Beyoncé, Rihanna, Janelle Monáe and Madonna all borrowing from the art form.
The 25th Annual Latex Ball will take place on Saturday, July 25 from 8:00pm to 4:00am at Terminal Five 610 West 56th Street, New York City. Tickets are available at GMHC and through Ticketmaster.