Novelistic and maternal figures
Although now controversial given the accusations of financial exploitation of the film’s stars by the – white – director, Paris Is Burning shines the spotlight on fictional characters, their dreams and their daily struggles. Trans women, young gay men and real mother figures like Dorian Corey and Pepper LaBeija. Far more than teams tailored for competition, the Houses are above all shelters, new families for young queer people, rejected by their parents because of their identity or orientation. In ballroom culture, substitute « Mothers » and « Fathers » will then ensure the well-being and development of their « kids », building homes of their own. « The ballroom allowed me to find a family that I no longer had, and to have an undeniable support to raise myself, to be myself », confides Nikki Gorgeous Gucci, Queen Mother of the House of the same name. In the early 2010s, it was she and Lasseindra Ninja who developed the ballroom culture in France. At different times, they both experienced it in New York. For Nikki, it was 25 years ago. They passed on the knowledge, the functioning, taught the dance and its techniques, structured the scene and organised the first events in France. “I knew that what we were doing was bigger than us, Nikki says. That it was going to grow and help a lot of people find themselves, accept themselves and take off. » Today, after more than a decade of existence, the French ballroom scene with its hundreds of members and leading figures such as artist, DJ and TV personality, Kiddy Smile, International Mother of the House of Gorgeous Gucci, has nothing to be ashamed of when compared to New York. Balls and other events related to the scene are real spaces of expression, liberation and exploration of their identity for queer people. They’re also able to find new families, support systems in Houses, such as House of Revlon, House of Oricci or House of Ladurée, the first French House, founded in 2013 by Mother Rheeda Ladurée.