In honor of World AIDS Day and the ongoing fight to promote HIV prevention and treatment among high risk groups, the University of Chicago Medical Center held a mini-ball with the legends and stars of the underground Chicago ball community.
While holding a “Paris is Burning” type ball may seem like an unusual move for a hospital, they held the ball as a way to build a bridge to the GLBTQ community and those at risk for HIV.
The ball scene is quite competitive and each category in the ball required the creative integration of the AIDS ribbon, the color red, or latex.
Categories for the competition included: “twisters,” featuring dancers that can twist their bodies: “red shoes,” with the only requirement being clad in red footwear; “Soft as Red Rose,” showcasing gender benders in red; And and my personal favorite- “sexy!” with scantily clad young men.
If a contestant didn’t measure up to what the judges wanted, the judges would hold up a giant card that read “Chop” or the emcees would announce “They said no, they said no,” over and over again to the beat of the music. The performer would then do the walk of shame off the runway. Cold right? But don’t fret over that because they would just change outfits and come back for the next competition and win!
And if the performer really delivered, the judges would hold up signs reading “Paragon.”