Friday, December 14, 2007

Several Hundred Gays, 3 Singing Divas, 2 Shritless Bartendars, 1 Smokin' hot Executive Director and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Last night I attended a great holiday fundraiser for The Ali Forney Center, an organization committed to sheltering LGBT homeless or kicked out youth. The center also provides: short- and long-term housing -- 32 beds in total, in six apartments -- plus free medical care, HIV testing, mental health services, showers, food, computer access, and job training and placement at its drop-in center in Chelsea.

The Ali Forney center is one of the better organizations I've heard of lately and greatly commend their efforts. It is interesting to note that 40% of NYC's homeless youth are of LGBT identity and since youths are naturally coming out younger and younger these days, The Ali Forney Center really does offer a safe place of shelter for kids who's homes and families refused to accept them.

The fundraiser was held in a magnificent West Village apartment. One of those apartments where upon walking into you gasp and exclaim, "Wow, this is Manhattan!" I placed my coat on the coatracks and stashed my backpack along with some others underneath the coats. I moved further into the apartment and happily pulled out my checkbook to pay a donation which will go toward a new set of sheets and bedding for the center.

There was a wonderful spread of food and desserts from local gay and gay friendly eateries around town and an open bar. I grabbed some chips, chicken satay, a vodka and mingled with guests and caught up with familiar faces. People generally seemed to be talking about The Ali Forney Center along with other organizations mixed with mild cruising and discussion of Holiday Plans. There was one guy who caught my attention more than once. A beefed up, goatee'd Italian looking fellow who seemed to be caught up in a lot of meet-and-greets.

The apartment was reaching capacity when an announcement was made that a show would be taking place downstairs in just a few moments. I walked downstairs and grabbed a seat next to some Brooklyn buddies of mine and watched Drag Queen Trai La Trash talk about the center and do a comedy bit. She welcomed on stage Diva Singer and New York local Natalie Douglas who sang a few gorgeous sounding holiday hits and did a duet with party host and fellow New York singer David Raleigh. It was fun and festive and beautiful and nice and yes- ok- yes, even I, Mr. Scrooge himself started feeling as though I was getting into the holiday spirit.

Trai La Trash took the stage again and introduced Executive Director of The Ali Forney Center, Carl Siciliano- and what do you know? It's the Italian hunk! Swooooon. The crowd fell silent and listened to Siciliano talk about the work done at the Ali Forney center and how important it is to pay attention to the health of LGBT youth. Gosh, this guy is racked up the points. It was a heartfelt speech and peaked mine, as I'm sure many other's awareness to the LGBT homelessness problem. Trai La Trash, also understanding what peaks gay interest, teased the crowd that if we donated more Mr. Siciliano would take off his shirt. Immediately I started thinking of my bank account. Grin.

After the speeches were finished and donations were in the fundraiser turned into an amazing traditional, all out, balls to the wall, raging house party. The DJ cued everyone in that the party was officially beginning by spinning the 2007 classic line, "It's Britney Bitch..." and the rest, well, the rest is holiday history. I guess you'll have come and donate next year to find out how much fun this party happens to be.

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