Ballroom Culture Transforms QTPOC Community

Safe spaces for QTPOC communities in a country seen by the rest of the world as progressive are rare, but trans women are finding space and solace in Auckland’s balls, Beatrice Hazlehurst reports for UK-based magazine, Dazed.

To cross hemispheres from Harlem is a long way for vogue culture to travel, but the bottom of the world was only ever going to burn if a brave few would set it alight. Among those leading Auckland’s ballroom birth has been Jaycee Tanuvasa, who not only mothers her own House of IMAN but many young QTPOC New Zealanders navigating their – often ostracised – intersectional identities, Hazlehurst writes for the publication.

“Balls remind us of our power,” Tanuvasa says. “It’s also a boot camp for real life, holding tools that protect us when navigating the outside world… Living in New Zealand as a non-passing fa’afafine trans woman, I’ve faced many challenges: discrimination, violence, misogyny, and transphobia.

“Balls are a reclamation of space and identity and it gives refuge to those from our community who feel alone: one big chosen family that offer things most cis-hetero parents cannot offer.”

Original article by Beatrice Hazlehurst, Dazed, May 25, 2021.

Photo by Apela Bell.

Tags: ball culture  Dazed  House of IMAN  Jaycee Tanuvasa  QTPOC  voguing  

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