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Gays Gone Wild!

By Will Godfrey 06/20/11

A pack of Gay Pride party promoters is planning to put the sex back into sobriety.


Every year, on the last weekend in June, Gay Pride kicks off a non-stop 48-hour festival of drink, drugs and debauchery in New York. This year sober gays and lesbians are determined to prove they can party with the best of them.

A group calling itself NYC Queer and Sober has announced plans to throw an over-the-top sober “Superheroes Ball” next month, with the weekend's other attractions including a  “sexy boot camp,” a swimsuit competition, a Hudson cruise, and throbbing music “that sounds nothing like Katy Perry.” Revelers from at least 28 countries are expected, with large contingents from California, Texas, London and Australia.

The event’s Creative Director Cristian Parker, 33, who quit alcohol and cocaine 10 years ago and describes being openly sober as “like being gay in the fifties,” says that previous sober events at Pride were inevitably disappointing. “We’d end up in some public school cafeteria with 24 people and a bad DJ. It was really sad. My newly-sober friends looked at me as if to say, ‘Is this what life’s going to be like from now on?" He adds, "These days crystal meth is bringing people into sobriety a lot sooner, so it’s really important to keep these younger people interested.”

As an alternative, last year Parker and his friends pooled their resources to throw a party “as retribution for every bad A.A. dance we’d ever been to,” renting a large outdoor space in Hell’s Kitchen for a Wild West theme party that included beef jerky specially flown in from Texas. Over 700 attendees joined in the fun.

Jeff, 48, a Manhattan real estate broker who quit alcohol and crystal seven years ago, attended last year’s event and found it “well-planned, festive and different.” He adds conspiratorially, “I have lots of friends who aren’t sober—who are just social drinkers—who are going to come [sober] to this year’s event, because honestly, it’s a great opportunity for husband-hunting. A lot of the guys there are single, and they won’t be drunk or high when you talk to them.”

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Will Godfrey.jpg

Will Godfrey is the former editor-in-chief of TheFix. He was also the founding editor-in-chief of, and previously co-founded a magazine for prisoners in London. His work has appeared in Salon, Pacific Standard, AlterNet and The Nation among others. He is currently the Executive Director at FILTER. You can find Will on Linkedin and Twitter.

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