Over 3,000 people attended the Latex Ball, which is the largest in the world for the House and Ball community. Participants competed for trophies and cash prizes. The event incorporated free HIV testing, HIV-prevention materials and sexual health messaging provided by GMHC and other community-based organizations and the NYC Department of Health.
“For over 25 years, the Latex Ball has played a critical role as a public health intervention. It also provides a strong sense of community for everyone to unite and highlight contributions from an often marginalized community” said Kelsey Louie, CEO of GMHC. “The ball taps into the creativity, resiliency, and strength of the House and Ball community, and it celebrates and encourages members to support their community health and influence mainstream culture. With an increase in hate crimes and murders of people of color, it is essential that this event continue so that these youth and young adults know that they do matter. I am grateful to our co-sponsors Callen Lorde Community Health Center, the Imperial Court of New York, the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) and AMPNYC.org (an HIV Prevention study), and would like to give significant recognition to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Public Health Solutions. Because of their contribution, we were able to return to our tradition of offering this event free of charge to the community, which helps to further our messages of prevention and community.”