The Gala20 B-All was organised as a party kicking off a series of events celebrating 20 years of Gala. In light of the divisiveness within the LGBTQIA+ community around celebratory events such as pride, the Gala team attempted at organising an inclusive event with the Gala YOUth
Forum in mind.
In LGBTQIA+ society – South Africa, it is almost unheard of, if not completely so – to have a diverse crowd at an event which does not call for a particular gender performance. On the 2nd of September 2017, Club Simply Blue in collaboration with Gala hosted the first ever Ball. It was like staring at honest representations of each part of the acronym for the first time perhaps since 2012.
While the Ball was designed with Harlem Ball culture in mind, it aimed to makes the space asinclusive as possible adding uniquely South African categories to the mix. Kasi Sauce, Queer Comrade, Bold, Thick Realness – categories which we hoped would celebrate a South African Ball audience. For us the primary reason for hosting the Ball was to create space. Yet we have our flaws, some felt that the space was not open to all. This was never our intention, and for those who experienced that – our sincere apologies. The Ball managed, through a facilitated process, to bring people to one of Joburg’s best-kept secrets.
While the crowd eagerly awaited performances, Club Simply Blue turned up the heat by keeping us waiting – and at the strike of midnight, just after we began with the program the lights went out.
But collective creativity and will showed pure strength as a community. With the assistance of Keketso Motjwadi and our phenomenally diverse family, magic happened. We willed a Ball into being, through song and laughter, dance and healthy competition we managed to have a Ball in any case. This yearning for inclusive spaces has echoed through the years from 2012 to now.
Help make inclusive LGBTQIA+ social spaces a reality
We need to consider the implications of not supporting LGBTQIA+ spaces. They are shutting down, becoming more exclusive and a commodity few have access to. This does not have to be the case.
– Anzio Jacobs –