Download Butch Queens Up in Pumps: Gender, Performance, and Ballroom by Marlon M. Bailey PDF

By Marlon M. Bailey

Butch Queens Up in Pumps examines Ballroom tradition, within which inner-city LGBT participants gown, dance, and style to compete for prizes and trophies. members are affiliated with a home, an alternate kin constitution normally named after high fashion designers and offering help to this diversified 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 resources for Butch Queens Up in Pumps: Gender, Performance, and Ballroom Culture in Detroit

Example text

I suggest that the practice of ascribing alternative meanings to such terms is a form of performance labor, even as the alternative meaning often breaks insufficiently from its pervasive usage in the dominant society. Similarly, since expressing performative identities through fashion is an integral part of this culture—­based on fashion categories and the presentation of bodily and physical attributes at the balls—­I address consumption practices in the final pages of this chapter. The relatively low socioeconomic status of most members of the community induce some—­not all—­to acquire these garments by shoplifting (mopping) and credit card/check fraud (crafting).

Because of the nonnormative gender and sexual identities and practices of its members, Ballroom culture, as an everyday practice of resistance and survival for Black LGBT people, stands in tension with one of the most powerful forces in the city—­people I call the Black political elite. Ostensibly, the political sphere in Detroit has been—­at least for the last thirty years—­ dominated by Blacks. This political elite consists mostly of career politicians and members of the clergy, all of whom represent a socioeconomically privileged class in Detroit.

On the one hand, the Butch Queen is a good example of how, to a certain degree, these categories operate on fixity, as members impose and enforce strict criteria for inclusion in any category. On the other hand, because Black gender and sexual categories reflect the very complicated and often dangerous realities and conditions under which Black LGBT people live, the performance of sex, gender, and sexual categories in Ballroom can be considered an important form of individual and communal self-­fashioning.

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