20 years after Paris Is Burning, a rare look at Ballroom culture—from the inside

Look Inside


Butch Queens Up in Pumps examines Ballroom culture, in which inner-city LGBT individuals dress, dance, and vogue to compete for prizes and trophies. Participants are affiliated with a house, an alternative family structure typically named after haute couture designers and providing support to this diverse community. Marlon M. Bailey’s rich first-person performance ethnography of the Ballroom scene in Detroit examines Ballroom as a queer cultural formation that upsets dominant notions of gender, sexuality, kinship, and community.

Marlon M. Bailey is Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University.

Winner, Alan Bray Memorial Book Prize, 2015

- Modern Language Association (MLA) Alan Bray Memorial Book Prize

"This study of house/ball culture also makes for yet another example of the positive impact of liberation psychologies at work among people attempting to thrive and survive amid systemic marginalization and dismissal by outgroup members in the wider society."

- Michele K. Lewis

"Butch Queens Up in Pumps meticulously details how racism, poverty, homophobia and AIDS still challenge the black lgbt community and how Ballroom culture in Detroit provides a space of resistance, yet as a combination of ethnography and memoir, the book reads personally and emotionally in a way that few academic studies achieve."
Lambda Literary Review

- Chase Dimock