LGBTQ Magazine

Fab: The Chicago Reader Dishes On The Black LGBT Ball Scene

Posted on the 22 August 2011 by Cynisright @cynisright
Chicago Reader cover

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08/21/2011 – by Cynthia Wright

Lights. Cameras. Runaway action. Live it, like it, love it. In a wonderful article published by the Chicago Reader, a reporter goes behind the scenes of A Family Affair – a local Chicago LGBT ball crew. The crew is composed of approximately 150 male-identified men, drag queens, transgendered and natural-born women that come together to rock the runaway in the most creative way possible.

The article discusses that the ball scene has been around since the 1920s and provides a safe  space where poor, black gay kids can come and mix with the Chicago LGBT community. Even though, the gay community can be just as segregated as straight society, the balls have been one of the few areas where black kids can come together and find one another.

How involved the balls are is a testament to its longevity, balls can range from informal gatherings (called ‘kiki’) to major balls, where money is usually involved. While the article gives a great background and history about how the Chicago ball scene conducts itself – where it shines is when it delves into the lives of several of the participants. Not all of the interviews come from those high up in the ball scene with their own unique stories on how they became involved with A Family Affair but their sense of needing to belong bigger than themselves is a feeling that is identifiable whether you’re gay or straight.

Check out Grit & Glitter over at the Chicago Reader, diva.


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