House and Ball Culture Goes Wide


COMPOSED PRIMARILY of African-American and Latino people, many or most of them transgendered, the House and Ball community is a system of “houses” that participate in competitive drag balls. Centered in New York City, the houses have names like Xtravaganza, Ninja, LaBeija, the Garavani, and so on, and are organized Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 1.27.50 PMas “drag families” headed by a “house mother.” It’s a community that’s as amorphous, inclusive, and diverse as any other GLBT (or lgbtq, etc.) universe. Like other subcultures within the larger subculture of “gaydom,” House and Ball has made direct and indirect contributions to popular culture while simultaneously resisting hegemony and absorption through the use of codified language and organizational structure.

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