Liberation House: House and Ballroom Community Movement

The Keeping Ballroom Community Alive Network is made of House and Ballroom Community (HBC) participants working to shift power dynamics so that HBC participants can joyfully live out our self-determined lives without limitations or barriers. The House and Ball Community (aka the ballroom scene) is a national subculture of Black and Latinx LGBTQ youth and adults. Evolving from Harlem drag balls throughout the Harlem Renaissance (1920s), the HBC provides a platform, which celebrates all forms of gender and sexual expression. The HBC also provides many queer youth and adults with a chosen kinship structure through which collective impact, resiliency and vital resources are obtained. Balls are extravagant and competitive social events co-organized by houses in the community. During balls, houses compete in a variety of artistic categories towards the goal of visibility and cultural production. KBCAN was co-founded by a group of HBC activists and organizers who are connecting houses across the country to get more involved in community organizing towards liberation for all HBC members. Those of us in the KBCAN hope to build the capacity of our community to lead the initiatives that impact our lives as many Black and Brown LGBTQ+ youth are forced to navigate systemic oppression, white supremacy, and institutional racism. We seek to respond to systemic violence and lift up and incorporate the voices of disconnected, marginalized and systems-involved HBC youth in the planning, design, development and implementation of initiatives that build protective factors, reduce risk and create opportunities that contribute to our community’s overall well-being. KBCAN emphasizes the values of self-advocacy, self-determination and equity, so that we have the tools to navigate the world on our own accord.

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