Circuit Party

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Circuit Party

A circuit party is a large professionally produced public dance party attended primarily by gay men that lasts all night and into the next day. Beginning in the early 1980s as AIDS benefits and drawing some of their inspiration from rave culture, circuit parties have become progressively more elaborate since their inception—generating affiliated events that sometimes stretch over two or three days, attracting corporate sponsorship, and spawning commercial imitations. Among the oldest and best-known circuit parties are White Party Week in Miami, Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney, the Black and Blue Festival in Montreal, and White Party Palm Springs. These events, along with some two dozen others, form the basis for "The Circuit," a series of parties that spans the globe and continues throughout the year. Gay men who attend several of these events each year often refer to themselves as "circuit boys."

During the mid- to late 1990s, circuit culture began to draw criticism both within and outside the gay community for promoting the use of recreational drugs such as ecstasy and methamphetamine and for contributing to the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Supporters of the phenomenon, however, argue that circuit parties serve a vital function for gay men, providing a sense of community and a celebration of gay identity. Reaching their peak at the end of the 1990s, circuit parties have begun to decline in attendance and popularity since then, possibly because of the increasing cost, the aging of the original generation of circuit boys, and changing tastes among younger gay men.


"Circuit Noize Interactive." Available from

Signorile, Michelangelo. 1997. Life Outside. New York: HarperCollins.

                                        Dennis Allen