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One of Massachusetts’ Leading Feminist Organizations Is Throwing a Ball!

September 06, 2019

Mass NOW partners with Transgender Emergency Fund and the Fierce Urgency of Now initiative to shine a spotlight on LGBTQ+ young professionals of color and raise money to support low-income trans individuals in the Bay State.

The Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women (Mass NOW) and the Transgender Emergency Fund are teaming up to organize “The Back to School Ball” scheduled for Saturday, September 7, 2019 9PM to midnight at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury. The event will be hosted by Athena Vaughn and is part of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Fierce Urgency of Now series, geared at highlighting the experiences, challenges, and opportunities for young professionals of color. As a one of the state’s leading intersectional feminist organization, Mass NOW is proud to be partnering on this event to build on our mission of advancing gender equity and stand in solidarity with queer communities of color. "We’re excited to be working with TEF and Fierce Urgency of Now to provide an opportunity for allies to celebrate the Boston Ballroom scene,” says Mass NOW President, Sasha Goodfriend. 

“By fundraising for the Transgender Emergency Fund we’re supporting low-income trans individuals in Massachusetts and walking the walk of allyship and our feminist principles.” 

The vast majority of Boston’s ballroom community is comprised of LGBTQ people of color, between the ages of 18 and 29. In Massachusetts, young LGBTQ people of color are over-represented among new HIV cases and are disproportionately burdened by other sexually transmitted infections. This event offers a critical opportunity for community-level intervention, builds affirming spaces, reduces stigma and isolation, and enhances knowledge within the QPOC community about social support and health services. 

A “Ball” or an event that is marketed to the “ballroom community” is a dance party featuring competitions in which participants are judged and awarded prizes based on dance or “voguing” skills, costume or “effects,” and overall performance. Contemporary “Balls” have roots in 1960’s Harlem and are primarily Black and Latino/Hispanic countercultural expression of gender variance and performance.

Athena Vaughn is the director of TransCEND (Transgender Care and Education Needs Diversity) at the AIDS Action Committee where she helps provide support and risk reduction services to transgender women. Athena is also President of the New England Ball Collective (NEBC) organizes Balls year-round for young LGBTQ+ people of color to access support and build community.

Mass NOW is a member-based multi-strategy & multi-issue grassroots organization that has been pursuing gender equity in the Commonwealth for over 50 years. Mass NOW recently co-sponsored 'The Reset Ball' with Athena this past spring in honor of Pride & the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.