By Marlon M. Bailey
Butch Queens Up in Pumps examines Ballroom tradition, within which inner-city LGBT members costume, dance, and style to compete for prizes and trophies. contributors are affiliated with a home, another relatives constitution normally named after high fashion designers and supplying help to this various group. Marlon M. Bailey’s wealthy first-person functionality ethnography of the Ballroom scene in Detroit examines Ballroom as a queer cultural formation that upsets dominant notions of gender, sexuality, kinship, and community.
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Extra info for Butch Queens Up in Pumps: Gender, Performance, and Ballroom Culture in Detroit
This labor helps to constitute a particular form of family and kinship in the community. Moreover, Ballroom culture exists within larger Black and Latino/a LGBT communities that engage in what I call overlapping kin-making practices. These practices exist outside of what we have come to understand as marriage, particularly the heteronormative domain from which Black LGBT members have been or choose to be excluded. For working-class, Black, gender, and sexual minorities, the precursor to seeking marriage privileges is claiming a stable gender and sexual identity to gain access to the benefits that this institution supposedly offers.
For example, Femme Queens are involved in romantic and sexual relationships mostly with men, many of whom are straight identified and not in the Ballroom scene. Yet other Femme Queens are involved in gay, lesbian, and bisexual romantic and sexual relationships and identify as such. If a Femme Queen dates or has sex “Ain’t Nothing Like a Butch Queen” 37 with men, she typically identifies as heterosexual. When I asked Levin, a Femme Queen and free agent, about her sexual identity, she said, “I would say, living as a woman, [I’m] heterosexual.
Upon my arrival, I soon realize that I will be waiting in the hotel for a long time, something to which I have grown accustomed. In Ballroom culture, nothing begins or ends on time. When I arrive in the hotel lobby, Grandmother Prestige meets me at the front desk and escorts me to the room in which the meeting is to be held. There I join Trinity Prestige, the new housemother, and a few other members from the Detroit chapter who are already there. To my surprise, a very young White Femme Queen named Princess, from Flint, Michigan, who is being recruited by Trinity, is in the hotel room.