Local West Hollywood bars celebrated Red Dress Day in the LGBT Rainbow district on Sunday, September 24, 2023. Community members stepped out onto Santa Monica Boulevard and bar-hopped while wearing outrageous forms of red dresses for a good cause. Men and some women wore every red dress imaginable, from the big and poofy gowns, to slinky mini dresses.
The event organized by the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, brings visibility to HIV and AIDS by creating a set day for the community to celebrate life and remind people that HIV infections still occur. This year’s event was in support Life Group LA and Being Alive, two non-profit organizations that are focused on wellness for individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
Red Dress Day launched east of the LGBT Rainbow District at OR Bar, the former home of Gold Coast Bar where the Red Dress Party originated a good 26 years ago. OR bar had drink specials and a best in show red carpet runway presentation.
Revolver bar video bar had a step and repeat with Gert Crawford interviewing participants on a red carpet. People passing by on the street took advantage of the photo op throughout the day.
Gym Bar participated in Red Dress Day by offering drink specials and people had a chance to commemorate a person they lost to HIV/AIDS on quilt as part of their fundraising efforts. Guests donated money in exchange for writing a special message on the quilt which was displayed inside the bar.
Gallery photos by Mike Pingel (click to enlarge).
Micky’s WeHo brought out the go-go dancers in their red bikinis for the bar’s Ice Cream Sunday theme, hosted by Stefano Rosso.
The LA Sisters were busy selling red wristbands for $5.00s, which gave guests drink discounts at participating bars. The sisters sold pins for $20.00 to raise money. Red Bull Drinks were also offered for free at all the bars.
Sunnie Rose Berger, the Executive Director/Co-founder at The Life Group LA wore red and visited all the participating businesses throughout the day. “A Day of Pure Joy,” she posted on her Facebook page. “An abundance of gratitude to The Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Billy Francesca and all these amazing businesses who participated in this year’s Red Dress Day Event! On behalf of The Life Group LA #lifegroupla we cannot thank you enough for this tremendous venture and gift so that we can continue to offer our life affirming emotional support and educational programs for people living with HIV and those who love them! Thank you to all the party goers for sharing in this celebration, you all looked amazing!!”
The Red Dress Party Day event was originally created by Mark Ferguson and Yves-Claude, bartenders at West Hollywood’s Gold Coast Bar. Mark Ferguson and Yves-Claude were both HIV positive and made an agreement with each other that whoever passed away first, the other would go to their funeral wearing a red dress. Tragically, Mark passed away first and Yves-Claude could not attend his memorial because he was out of town. When Yves-Claude returned, the owner of Gold Coast Bar at the time, Bob Hastings, came up with the idea to create an event and invite everyone to wear a red dress in celebration of Mark’s life.
The inaugural Red Dress Party Day event was held at Gold Coast Bar in 1997 with proceeds supporting HIV and AIDS community organizations. The initial event proved to be impactful, and the event has been held annually for 23 years. A few years following the inaugural event, Yves-Claude passed away due to complications of AIDS. Yves-Claude was able to see first-hand the impact of the Red Dress Party Day as it generated community awareness for HIV and AIDS and provided much-needed support and funds for organizations devoted to this cause.
Life Group LA is a coalition of people dedicated to the education, empowerment, and emotional support of persons both infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, so that they may make informed choices and decisions regarding their healthcare and personal well-being. The nonprofit organization provides much needed information and emotional support through medical forums, emotional support groups, and the POZ Life Weekend Seminar, all free of charge. All services are offered in a non-judgmental and safe environment with compassion and understanding. Being Alive is a nonprofit organization focusing on the mental health and wellness of people living with HIV and AIDS. Services to client-members include a variety of no-cost programs, such as comprehensive emotional support, treatment education, prevention, advocacy, wellness, and social services.
To learn more, visit http://www.thelifegroupla.org/index.html
Being Alive’s mission is to end HIV infections by eliminating stigma, engaging people in wellness, removing barriers to care, and restoring dignity.
Being Alive (Being Alive/People with AIDS Action Coalition (501(c)(3) #95-4137742) is a nonprofit organization focusing on the mental health and wellness of people living with HIV and AIDS. their services to client-members include a variety of no-cost programs, such as comprehensive emotional support, treatment education, prevention, advocacy, wellness and social services. their mental health program offers long term therapy for clients infected with and affected by HIV.
Established in 1986 by three friends, John Mohr, Ron Rose, and Rick Ewing, Being Alive was created as a response to a need for services free of red tape and bureaucratic entanglement. These three visionaries saw the need for an organization made up of other people living with HIV and AIDS who would advocate for the HIV/AIDS community from the point of view of those who are infected. Today, Being Alive serves as a beacon of emotional support, treatment education, and empowerment to thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS.
To learn more, visit: https://beingalivela.org/