Keeping Ballroom Community Alive Network

Filtering by Category: CLOF

Meet the Fellow: Gia Banks Mizrahi

Based in Los Angeles, Legendary Mother Gia Mizrahi is a dancer, model, and activist who uses performance to ignite social change. She has performed for venues such as LA PRIDE, TransNation, and Alliance for California Traditional Arts. Since 2006, Gia has worked with REACH LA to link the West Coast House and Ballroom Community to both artistic platforms and HIV/AIDS-related services.

Meet the Fellow: Jennifer Barnes Balenciaga

A 28 year old revolutionary Woman of Trans Experience who has dedicated her life to working to ensure the meaningful advancement of gender equity and inclusion for all people of the trans experience. Barnes, a 7 year resident of the City of Atlanta is a originally from Hamilton, Ohio and holds numerous organizational affiliations, including as the Fem Queen runway member of the illustrious House of Balenciaga, a leading institution in the House and Ballroom Scene.

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. 

Meet the Fellow: Amazon Sen Ayané

Sen Ayané is an East Asian trans femme from Queens, New York. She was born on an island and longs to go back. Sen believes in a world ruled by femmes and knows that feminine energy is a unique power. She expresses herself through writing and is working to share her story soon. Sen hopes to connect and learn from others like herself through this fellowship and to use all the resources she has at her disposal to amplify the unheard voices within the trans and gender-nonconforming community.

Meet the Fellow: Jade Vogelsang Luna

Jade Dynasty Luna; member of the drag & pageant House of Dynasty, Mother of the Kiki Ballroom House of Luna. Is a community engagement specialist, organizer, advocate, activist, nightlife performer and producer of Indonesian descent based in Seattle, WA. Jade is an active nightlife gogo, drag artist and burlesque dancer. As well as a producer of several queer and trans people of color (QTPOC) parties and events consisting of BBQs, kikis, community dance spaces, performances, and support groups. In 2017, she was awarded a Gender Justice Celebratory Award for her work in Gender Justice and creating spaces that celebrate the trans womxn experience. In her community engagement work, Jade brings her history of struggling with homelessness and inter-sectional violence to her work in community with homeless QTPOC as a counselor/ peer support specialist. In March of 2016 Jade organized the first ever QTPOC centered homelessness forum and resource fair in King County, WA at Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets located in Capitol Hill, Seattle. The forum included 16 local LGBTQ, Homeless, and youth focused organizations as well as a panel consisting of all QTPOC youth and young adults who were currently homeless or formerly homeless. In her advocacy work, she has fought on a city and legislative level alongside organizations like the Gender Justice League, Youthcare, and the Mockingbird society against LGBTQ & Homelessness discrimination laws & policies. She continues to use her platform and voice to speak out about the unique violence trans womxn of color face as well as uplift the voices of others in her community.

Jade has thrown several balls and voguing competitions in Seattle. After having the opportunity of being introduced to Stephaun Blahnik and interviewing him on the only QTPOC centered radio show in Seattle "Lulu Nation" which sparked increased conversation about developing a ballroom community in the PNW. Starting with "En Vogue" a monthly ball competiton that ran for 2 events starting in April 2016. She continued her efforts to bring together her QTPOC community in a white/cis/het dominated city by collaborating with the DARQNESS Collective to include a few categories at they're party's within these collaborations brought out Skyshaker with QWEEN BEAT for a pride mini ball event in June 2016, "The Darqside of Pride". She followed up with a DARQNESS: Vogue competition that included a DJ set by LSDXOXO (QWEEN BEAT). In 2017 after being sponsored by the Gender Justice League to attend the 2017 "Creating Change" Conference in Philadelphia she expanded her networks and attended a few balls in Philadelphia during her time there further expanding her connections and knowledge of ball culture. In March 2017 she partnered with Diego José on developing a weekly All-House QTPOC Kiki which followed with collaborating on the Lunático Ball which ran with great success and now forming the House of Luna. She is constantly trying to expand her knowledge and experience of Ball culture so she can spread her knowledge to disproportionately impacted Trans Womxn of color. In September 2017 after joining the "Keeping Ballroom Community Alive Network" Fellowship she has started a biweekly Potluck for Trans Womxn of color in an effort to bring together her community in the PNW. Her dream is to one day host a ball in the PNW that is specifically for Trans people. She looks forward to connecting more with other girls in the fellowship and continuing to learn and grow within ballroom. Her true passion IS community and family.