Keeping Ballroom Community Alive Network

Meet the Fellow: Linda Montanez

Linda LaBeija is a multidisciplinary artist from Bronx, NY, whose work explores the complexities of living as a transgender woman of color in today’s America. With origins in both Black America and the English/Spanish-speaking Caribbean, Linda's transnational experience of living at the intersection of embodied, social, and national borders hones in on the critiques of hegemonic power. As a performing artist, musician and author, Linda's work intervenes with confidence, politicized anger, and grace into a symbolic and literal economy which would otherwise render her bound and gagged. Her work aims to create space for transgender and gender non-conforming people of color in the arts. Through workshop facilitation and communal performances, Linda uses her autobiographical work to create greater social consciousness around transgender issues. Aside from her work on the stage, she devotes her time working at the Ali Forney Center helping LGBT homeless youth. Her skills and experience have brought her to working with groups and organizations such as Afropunk, helping organize their first Trans Awareness March in 2015 and The Iconic House of LaBeija facilitating vogue and poetry workshops at schools, universities and juvenile justice centers. She has performed in various theaters and venues including The Cherrylane Theater, The National Black Theater of Harlem and El Teatro of Museo Del Barrio. She most recently completed her residency at BRIC Arts Media House playing the role of “Maybelline” in The Messiah Complex written by Nia Witherspoon and directed by Charlotte Brathwaite. She can also be seen in the feature film “Pariah” directed by Dee Rees.