DEADLINE EXTENDED TO DECEMBER 8 — Welcome to the 6th Annual POZ Awards, spotlighting the best of HIV in media and culture.

The POZ editorial staff selects the nominees, but POZ readers choose the winners.

Eligible nominees were active or were presented, published or produced between October 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021.

This year’s POZ Awards are a little different, since many of our regular categories went unfilled due to challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Stage, movie theaters, music venues, and artists of all kinds were affected by this newest virus, and cultural awards reflect that. Even the Tony Awards had to eliminate categories this year. So, in that regard, you can think of this year’s POZ Awards as being just like the Tonys.

Be sure to vote for your favorite nominees by the World AIDS Day deadline: Wednesday, December 1, 2021. 

Here are the nominees:

Mark S. King’s 60th Birthday Bash

In December of 2020, the darling of HIV long-term survivors, humpy DILF Mark S. King, turned 60. To mark the occasion, Mark decided to have a virtual birthday bash. The tickets were free, with suggested donations benefitting The Reunion Project, a national network of long-term HIV survivors. The fab evening, hosted by the irreverent and effervescent Charles Sanchez with social media gal-on-the-street reporting by Olivia Ford, boasted salutations and greetings from the likes of Greg Louganis, Javier Munoz, and a musical serenade from Sir Elton John himself! There was also an after party on Zoom, giving guests the opportunity to interact with Mark and congratulate him personally. This event was a hoot, and a welcome family reunion for all of us who needed a bit of laughter, fun, and connection.

Elton John’s Oscar Party

Sir Elton John’s pre-Oscar bash is legendary, and 2021’s was no exception. This year’s soiree went virtual, allowing viewers from across the globe to join in with celebrities in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, alongside Sir Elton and his hubby David Furnish, the gala also featured a mini-concert by superstar Dua Lupa, who regaled the audience with her hits, along with a duets of “Benny and the Jets” and “Love Again” with Sir Elton. The lavish party raised 3 million dollars for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, an organization started by John to partner with organizations to spread awareness, fight stigma, and provide treatment and care with love, compassion and dignity for people living with HIV around the world.

Broadway Bares: Twerk from Home

The annual Broadway Bares event went a step beyond a giant Zoom call by making cinematic short films for the benefit this year, releasing the films in June of 2021. The films included over 180 dancers, streaming sexy booty right into your bedroom. The steamy and fun project was directed by Tony Award winner and Bares creator Jerry Mitchell and raised $771,015 dollars for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, a non-profit organization that raises awareness and money for those affected with HIV. There’s nothing better than watching gorgeous Broadway dancers get nudie for a cause!

HIV Stigma and Faith Summit

Produced by GLAAD (the advocacy group focused on LGBTQ representations in media), the first ever virtual summit to host discussions on HIV and faith in the South launched in February of 2021, aimed at educating and training participants on dealing with HIV issues in the southern US. The event boasted celebrities Karamo of Queer Eye, Angelica Ross of American Horror Story and director Patrik-Ian Polk (Noah’s Arc), and was co-hosted by Gilead COMPASS Initiative, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, Southern AIDS Coalition, and Wake Forest University School of Divinity. The 3-day event held panels and workshops aimed at bridging the gap between faith, religion, and HIV and sexuality, along with discussions on race, queerness, and HIV stigma.

Vote: POZ Awards 2021 / Best Virtual Event