Arts Spaces for Queer BIPOC During COVID: Paris Has Burned

Community as a concept is understood universally; in function its possibilities are inherently dynamic. However, community becomes a necessity when it supersedes formation through common interests and is developed by way of shared experiences. For some queer individuals, and specifically ones of color, the ballroom scene is an example of a community formed through the need to have a space where everyone understands each other through shared experience. In interviewing Noelle Deleon, a black trans woman from Texas, we are allowed insight into the ballroom community that she recently found herself a part of. When asked about the importance of ballroom she says, “It’s where queer men and trans women can go to be free. There is an absence of the influence and presence of people who don’t understand us.” However, there is an elephant in the (ball)room, and that is COVID-19. What happens to trans women when it is no longer safe to host these grand balls with hundreds of other people in the room? 

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