Believe it or not, the Stonewall Riots were also a catalyst for circuit parties.
Six months after Stonewall, America’s first gay rights group – the Gay Activist Alliance – formed and held dances in a firehouse in SoHo. At the same time, another dance party sprung up on Fire Island.
According to Mickey Weems, a lecturer at the University of Hawai’i Manoa, it was the first “circuit”. Weems attributes the name “circuit parties” to Andrew Holleran’s 1978 novel Dancer From The Dance. The author was the first to use the term circuit to imply that there was a “need to know circuit” in place not just for underground dance parties, but “in-the-know” places in the gay community, that even included barbershops.
Today, gay circuit parties are a global affair but America remains home to some of the best. White Party, Pines Party, and Provincetown Carnival are amongst the largest. Blatino Oasis, Black Party, Purple Party, Pensacola Pride and even Splash Days in Austin offer a smorgasbord of party options.
The circuit is now a year-round calendar of events. In 2019, New York hosts World Pride. Check out CircuitTribe.com for a full list.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMES FRANKLIN