The tradition of the Circle of Friends began in 1989 when a group of friends came together to host a celebration of life. Though the first REAL BAD dance event was small, those who attended knew the event was special and that it would continue for years to come.
In the early 90s, many event organizers in the LGBT community focused primary on raising money for AIDS- and HIV-related organizations. The organizers of REAL BAD, however, wanted to emulate an East Coast organization with a broader focus—Grass Roots Gay Rights Fund (GRGRF). The goal of that organization was to support groups defending LGBT rights and working for policy change. Inspired by GRGRF, Grass Roots Gay Rights West (GRGR/West) was founded in 1991 to pursue similar goals in the Bay Area through the REAL BAD party.
Initially, the organizers chose a different beneficiary each year, and they selected organizations dedicated to the advancement of LGBT civil rights. The beneficiaries received grants from the event proceeds, and many nationally recognized non-profits were recipients. Over time, the success of REAL BAD allowed for a second organization to receive funding from the event proceeds each year.
Now some 26 years later, REAL BAD has become the preeminent dance event of the Folsom Street Fair weekend with over 2000 men and women dancing the night away and generating funds to support many valued service organizations that serve the Bay Area LGBT community.