LGBT and Allies host ball, raise funds for those living with HIV, AIDS

Ms. Amanda Love, a drag queen from Lawrence, Kan. performs during the Red Ribbon Ball at the Alumni Center on Dec. 4, 2015. The event was hosted by LGBT and Allies. (Miranda Snyder | The Collegian)

K-State’s LGBT and Allies hosted the Red Ribbon Ball, a fundraiser for people in the local community affected by HIV or AIDS on Friday. The event was followed by a drag show at the Devil’s Tail Bar and Grill in Junction City.

The event was formal and included food, drinks and dancing. It was hosted by Amanda Love, a drag queen from Lawrence, Kansas. The funds raised from ticket sales went directly to Duane’s Food Pantry at the Riley County Health Department.

Shawn Gelushia, president of the LGBT and Allies organization at K-State and junior in journalism and mass communications, said he had high hopes preceding the event.

“I hope the event goes really well and smooth, and I am most looking forward to enjoying everyone’s faces and watching everybody have fun, and of course to meet new people in this community,” Gelushia said.

According to Gelushia, the event is a great representation of what the K-State family means: embracing others who are different from yourself.

“I think it is really good to have something like this in our community to show we are out there and are helping others in need … because some of the community probably look down on us,” Gelushia said.

Kevin Stilley, K-State alum and local HIV and AIDS activist, said he has been active in the K-State LGBT community for over 30 years. He is a member of the Junction City Teddy Bears, a gay men’s social group that serves the Flint Hills community of Kansas. The group works closely with Duane’s Food Pantry, which serves members of the community living with HIV or AIDS.

According to Stilley, people who are HIV or AIDS positive are often not able to hold jobs due to how HIV and AIDS affects the body; this leaves them unable to provide for themselves the basic needs of everyday life, such as food.

Alexandra Denham and Brooke Chilson, both sophomores in computer science, attended the annual event for the second year on Friday.

“This is a good event to have because it raises money for a very important cause that is rather unknown in the community, and it’s great that they are able to do it in a fun way, too,” Denham said.

Chilson said she feels it is very important to attend this event and donate money.

“There really isn’t enough awareness for this cause in the community currently, and every bit can help,” Chilson said.