The Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) Latex ball was held over the weekend at Terminal 5 in NYC. Competitors began early evening and gave the catwalk hell almost into the dawn. And a glorious beautiful peaceful let out it was, with a bouquet of characters; slaying and serving.

The GMHC Latex Ball celebrated it’s 26th year of production and is the largest ball of its kind. THE MOST energetic innovative cut-throat gladiator style battle to the chop (dismissal) or to tens across the board (success). Participants compete for titles and cash prizes in the twenty something categories including Butch Queen Performance, Best Dressed, Drag Performance, Drag Face, Sex Siren, Runway, Pop Dip and Spin, and Bizarre. The judges panel is made up of founding house members and LGBTQ community leaders and legends. Much of the performances include voguing, a style of dance mastered early on by the mostly black and latino LGBTQ community. Vogueing has a rich history and culture going back to the 80’s. See Jennie Livingston film Paris is Burning if you haven’t already.

Latex Ball captivates celebrity attention, and inspires international participants to compete alongside the Houses. Houses are familial community and social structures affectionately referring to house leaders as ‘Mothers and Fathers’ and members ‘Children’. See House of Ninja, House of xtravaganza, House of LaBeija and many others.

As GMHC outreach promotes safe sex, HIV prevention and education, a key feature at the ball, is onsite free HIV testing. Check out what went down: