Joshua Trey Barnett is the co-creator and editor of GayInAthens.com and the contributing blogger behind Dawg Days, a weekly update from Athens for Project Q Atlanta.
I know you like balls.
You wouldn’t be reading this blog if they didn’t in some way get you going. Big balls, little balls — I know you like them all. And I’m okay with that. As a matter of fact, I’m extending a personal invitation for you to join me to see one of the biggest balls this side of the Mississippi River. Won’t y’all come?
All kidding aside, I really do want you to come visit the Classic City for one of the South’s greatest balls – Boybutante’s annual Boyball on Saturday at the famous 40 Watt Club in downtown Athens. An annual fundraiser for the Boybutante AIDS Foundation, the drag show is in its 20th year. Since 1989, the group has donated more than $500,000 to AIDS Athens to further research for HIV/AIDS. (Read more information about all of Boyball Week’s events and to purchase tickets.)
Events like Boyball are oh so important to the queer community. They serve as connections to the public, our allies and our friends. They raise funds for much-needed research and projects. They provide a safe venue for social gatherings and entertainment. And they offer up a heaping dose of visibility for a community of people who must keep themselves in the public eye. And by community of people, I mean us – the gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender folks.
Not so long ago, I talked with a leader in the Athens gay community about the pros and cons of integration. On the one hand, integration normalizes LGBT people. On the other hand, it normalizes LGBT people and makes it difficult to find and organize them.
With that in mind, the importance of gathering together — sometimes just to see drag queens and kings strut their stuff on the runway — becomes evident. The connections we are able to make with the at-large community, while still maintaining our own queer identity, are an integral part of moving things forward.
So, grab your friends and head to the Classic City this weekend for the event of the season. Join me at the ball. While you’re watching the hottest divas and divos on stage, enjoying a drink, stuffing money in bras and panties, and partying with Athens’ hottest, you’ll find comfort knowing that you’re supporting a cause that must be near-and-dear to us all. And you’ll be doing so while making an important statement.