'Chosen family': How ballroom instills pride in Black, Latino LGBTQ community

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Ballroom gives Black, Latino LGBTQ community ‘chosen family’

  • The thriving ballroom sub-culture remains are important as ever, especially for Black and Latino LGBTQ people.
  • Ballroom helps people find family, resources and themselves. The tradition was created decades ago by Black performers who were tired of being overlooked in white LGBTQ spaces.
  • “I’m a minority almost every place I go. So, when I’m with my chosen family, that’s not that reality,” said one ballroom participant.

“Did you think she deserved it?” a contestant roared. 

“Darling, she didn’t deserve nothing!” responded Crystal LaBeija. 

LaBeija, a contestant in the 1967 Miss All-American Camp Beauty Pageant, walked off stage after coming in as third runner-up in a drag pageant system where people of color could compete but were rarely the winner.

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