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Over 2,000 Expected to Attend Unleash Your Muse: GMHC's 27th Annual Latex Ball

Thursday Jul 27, 2017

Over 2,000 people from around the world are expected to celebrate the 27th annual Latex Ball, produced by Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), on Saturday, July 29, 2017 at Terminal Five, 610 West 56th Street, New York City.

The Latex Ball is the largest in the world for the House and Ball community, and attendees include fashion models, designers, renowned photographers, members of the House and Ballroom community and leadership from community-based organizations. The event incorporates an array of categories for competition, free HIV testing, HIV-prevention materials, and sexual health messaging provided by GMHC and over 20 community-based organizations, as well as the New York City and State Departments of Health.

The event begins at 6 p.m. with screenings of public health videos and social media campaigns co-created by LGBT youth and GMHC staff. At 6:30 p.m., enjoy a presentation of the Latex Ball awards. And at 7:30 p.m., the competition begins.

This year, the competition categories focus on the theme, "Unleash Your Muse." A panel of esteemed judges will select individual and team winners. Participants compete amongst one another on the runway for trophies and cash prizes. Prior to the start of the competitions, entertainers perform at the delight of the audience. Awards based on excellence in performance, creativity, and community service are also given to respected community leaders.

"For close to 30 years, the Latex Ball has played a critical role as a public health intervention. It also provides a strong sense of community for young black and Latino youth and adults," said Kelsey Louie, CEO, GMHC. "The ball highlights the creativity, resiliency, and strength of the House and Ball community, as well as encouraging members to support their community health. With the continued increase of hate crimes and murders of people of color, it is essential this event persists in letting youth and adults know that they do matter."

The House and Ballroom community, comprised predominately of black and Latino/a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals, is built from an organizational structure of "houses." A house is a club or surrogate family that includes a "house mother," "house father," and "children" who adopt the house name as their surname (e.g., Luna Khan, Father of the House of Khan, etc.).

Members of the houses, both young and old, compete in balls and related activities sponsored by various houses and promoters throughout the year. House mothers and fathers often provide support for LGBT youth who have been rejected by their families and faith communities and who otherwise might be homeless.

The House and Ball community lost many members to AIDS at the onset of the HIV epidemic in the 1980s. As a result, in 1989, GMHC and leaders from the ballroom community created the House of Latex Project. GMHC continues to produce the Latex Ball, which links community members with resources to improve health outcomes.

Throughout the year, GMHC also conducts outreach at other balls, LGBT youth venues, and through social media to incorporate innovative approaches to HIV prevention and safer-sex messaging. GMHC also hosts mini-balls, known as "kiki functions," that reach hundreds of youth and adults, offers HIV testing and prevention materials, and serves youth who are not affiliated with a house but are part of the broader ballroom community.

The House and Ball community has inspired artists, designers and entertainers nationally and internationally, including Madonna's global hit "Vogue." The community was also chronicled in the 1990 documentary, "Paris is Burning," directed by Jennie Livingston, in which she followed the members of the House and Ball community over the course of seven years, and the 2016 documentary "Kiki" directed by Sara Jordeno, a dynamic coming-of-age film about resilience and the transformative power of self-expression bringing together New York City's disenfranchised LGBT youth of color.

Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), celebrity fashion models, designers, photographers, and local leadership invite you to the 27th Annual Latex Ball, the largest in the world for the House and Ball community, on Saturday, July 29 from 6 p.m.-2 a.m. at Terminal Five, 610 West 56th Street (between 11th and 12th Avenues), NYC.

For more information about this year's Latex Ball, the theme and categories, visit Tickets are available at


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