Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus produces a variety of events dedicated to Black gay, bisexual, and same gender loving. The format of these events differ, but the intention remains the same: create social and educational spaces where men in our community can interface with each other and leave more connected to their community. We plan LoveFest, From the Heart, and Black.Boy.Joy annually with other events occurring periodically as interest arises.
LoveFest is a health and entertainment festival, held every summer in Chicago, to ensure HIV/STI awareness and showcase community talent.
Since 2005, LoveFest occurred every year in Jackson Park on Chicago’s South Side, a popular gathering place for many in our community. We began LoveFest to reach members of our community disengaged from healthcare where they were to ensure they were aware of their HIV/STI status. However, LoveFest has been an opportunity to showcase community talent with local performers entertaining patrons throughout the day.
It’s evolved in recent years, most notably moving to indoor locations that provide a more tailored experience. LoveFest’s health village is streamlined to emulate the “ideal health visit” to elevate our community’s expectation of clinical services. Today, its offering has expanded to include screening for their most pressing health concerns: Hepatitis C, meningitis, hypertension, and diabetes. Attendees note an increased awareness around HIV/STI services, particularly around PrEP/PEP and culturally competent healthcare options throughout Chicago’s Southside.
Producing LoveFest requires partnership with agencies dedicated to the health and wellness of Black gay, bisexual, and same gender loving men in Chicago. Our partners have included Chicago Department of Public Health (HIV/STI section), Janssen (pharmaceutical company), AIDS Foundation of Chicago (advocacy, prevention, and case management), Project Vida (community based organization), and The Jeffery Pub (historic Black gay nightclub).
LoveFest is oriented and primarily advertised to Black gay, bisexual, same-gender-loving and other men who have sex with men (MSM). This includes men who are negative, positive, or unclear about their status. However, LoveFest attracts and welcomes other members of the Black LGBTQ community, especially transgender women.Stay updated on our events
From the Heart
We acknowledge the achievements of community leaders every spring during Black History Month for their commitment to the Black gay, bisexual, and same gender loving men of Chicago. Our event shares these acknowledgements in public venues that allow community members to celebrate the achievements of our inductees.
- Lora Branch
- Dr. Mildred Williamson
- Ben Montgomery
- Ruff N Stuff (Thomas Hunt)
We celebrate every holiday season with a holiday soiree, newly dubbed Black.Boy.Joy! Live performances highlight our community’s talent to entertain and strength to persevere despite adversity.
Black.Boy.Joy borrows elements from variety shows, sexual health outreach, and holiday galas with attendance ranging between 100-200 patrons. Art, as a broad medium, resonates deeply with Black gay, bisexual, and same gender loving men. It resonates with our larger Black LGBT community. Through the early years of same gender loving speakeasies, through the civil right movement, the HIV epidemic, and mass incarceration, it has been a way for us to process our loss, struggle, and hope for a future with justice. This includes the incomparable writing of both Joseph Beam, Essex Hemphill, and James Baldwin.
Recently hosted at the historic Jeffery Pub, one of only two Black LGBT clubs in Chicago, we welcomed members of our community to observe World AIDS Day along with year-end spiritual holidays.
Red bowties are worn by attendees to memorialize loved ones and create visible sense of unityStay updated on our events
We enjoy strong relationships with community building organizations who share similar values. Below are recent events we have planned together:
- Paragon Ball with University of Chicago
- Movie Screening: The Skinny with several community partners
- Civil Unions Remixed with Affinity, Lambda Legal and the Chicago Urban League
- Stop Transmitting Silence with several community partners
- A Mirror to the Heart: Breaking the Stigma around HIV/AIDS with Haymarket Center
- PrEP: Prevention Revolution or Magical Thinking? with several community partners
- “seX Factor: A Dialogue on HIV Prevention and Care Among Older Adults.”
- REAL TALK: Young Black MSM Taking Charge, Arming Ourselves Against HIV! With Black Men’s’ Xchange Chicago and Brothers Health Collective
- United in HIV with Cyon Flare and Rae-Lewis Thornton
- Art & Soul: The Eargasmic Experience with No Wire Hanger Productions
- HIV 2012: The National HIV/AIDS Strategy with Black Treatment Advocates Network, NAACP, South Side Help Center, and Gilead Sciences