The Garden of Peace Project, founded by Michael David Battle, held its “Living Out Loud” party on Friday at the Warhol Museum. “Living Out Loud” was a collaborative event with the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Pittsburgh; True T Entertainment; and Cary D. Heard of Cary D. Heard Label to honor the National Day of Silence.
The National Day of Silence was held to bring attention to individuals within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) community who have been silenced by bullying and harassment, while supporting initiatives aimed at ending such negativity.
Besides the amazing fashion show and Kiki Ball that was held, STD and HIV testing was available to the adolescents and young adults who came to the event.
Aisha Diori (pictured left with Riko Boone) is the founder of the Kiki Ballroom scene (youth-led, adult-supported houses), and came to Pittsburgh to inspire the LGBTQ youth to live their lives out loud. “I started the Kiki Ball scene 12 years ago when I realized that there was a space needed for young adults to build community and learn about ways to protect themselves against HIV,” she said.
Watching beautiful black men vogue @TheWarholMuseum. Living!— Lenelle Moïse (@lenellemoise) April 12, 2014
The Kiki Ball is reminiscent of the documentary, “Paris Is Burning” for anyone who is familiar with it. (If you aren’t, I highly recommend watching it). Many of the kids Ms. Diori has worked with are homeless youth who are looking for families and a safe place to explore who they are.
“I am compelled to do this for our kids. Many of them end up staying in school, are college-bound and get great jobs,” she said. “We bring what we know to them -- we don’t wait for them to come to us. By then, it may be too late.”