“It’s Like Our Own Little World”: Resilience as a Factor in Participating in the Ballroom Community Subculture
- 669 Downloads
We are well into the third decade of the HIV epidemic. While strides have been made in HIV prevention, rates for African American men who have sex with men (AAMSM) and young AAMSM continue to increase—perhaps indicating that traditional deficit-approaches of HIV prevention are not effective for all populations. Following a recent call to investigate the resiliency of young gay men, this study identifies sources of resilience and strength within the House and Ball communities, a subculture comprised primarily of AAMSM. The mixed-methods design included survey data (N = 263) collected at community events, interviews with Ball attendees and focus group data with House members. Survey data indicate a relationship between participating in the House and Ball communities and seeking support, acceptance and entertainment. Qualitative data validate these findings and provide detail on motivations for AAMSM to participate and the perceived benefits of participation. Findings are discussed in relation to building strengths-based interventions, using concepts of resiliency including shamelessness, social creativity, social support and volunteerism.
KeywordsHouse and Ball Resilience African American YMSM Subculture
This study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health (RO1 DA22968). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Drug Abuse or the National Institutes of Health. The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of the staff members who contributed to collection, management, analysis and review of these data: Veronica Abernathy, William Beyer, Teela Davis, Deandre Ellison, Judith Grout, Cody Haight, Nefe Iredia, Tattiya Kliengklom, Sylvia Lambrechts, Donna Luebbe, Griselda Monroy, Heather Reyes, Marcia Higareda, Luis Salazar, Sheree Schrager, Milton Smith, Flor Vindel, and Carolyn Wong. The authors would also like to acknowledge the insightful and practical commentary of the members of the P3 Advisory Board, the Mothers and Fathers from the: House of Allure, House of Chanel, House of Ebony, House of Escada, House of Etro Galliano, House of Herrera, House of Garcon, House of Gotti, House of Lauren van Cartier, House of Mizarahi, House of Miyake Mugler, House of Revlon, House of Rodeo, and the House of Ultra Omni. We are especially grateful to all of the parents, leaders and members of the Los Angeles House and Ball communities for their commitment and willingness to share their diverse and often profound personal experiences as well as welcoming us into a part of their lives.
- 1.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV surveillance in men who have sex with men. 2010. Available from: www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/resources/slides/msm/slides/msm.pdf.
- 2.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV surveillance in men who have sex with men. 2010. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/.
- 5.Chauncey G. Gay New York. New York, NY: BasicBooks, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc; 1994.Google Scholar
- 7.Sterling TR, Stanley RL, Thompson D. HIV-related tuberculosis in a transgender network–Baltimore, Maryland, and New York City area, 1998–2000. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2000;49(15):317–20.Google Scholar
- 8.Sanchez T, Finlayson T, Murrill CS, Guilin V, Dean L. Risk behaviors and psychosocial stressors in the New York City house ball community: A comparison of men and transgender women who have sex with men. AIDS and Behav 2010;14(2):351–58.Google Scholar
- 21.Nunez R, Plancherel B, Bolognini M, Bettschart W. Mental health, stress and protective factors in early adolescence: longitudinal study over 3 years. Med Mind. 1992;7:37–62.Google Scholar
- 23.Luthar SS. Resilience in development: a synthesis of research across five decades. In: Cicchetti D, Cohen DJ, editors. Developmental psychopathology: risk, disorder, and adaptation. New York: Wiley; 2006. p. 739–95.Google Scholar
- 31.Thornton S. Club cultures: music, media, and subcultural capital. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press; 1996.Google Scholar
- 32.Hutson SR. The rave spiritual healing in modern western subcultures. Anthropol Q. 2000;73(1):35–49.Google Scholar
- 38.Benjamini Y, Hochberg Y. Controlling the false discovery rate: a practical and powerful approach to multiple testing. J Royal Stat Soc. 1995;57(1):289–300.Google Scholar
- 42.Tajfel H, Turner JC. The social identity theory of inter-group behavior. In: Worchel S, Austin W, editors. Psychology of intergroup relations. Chicago: Nelson-Hall; 1986.Google Scholar
- 43.Stark CB. All our kin: strategies for survival in a Black community. New York: Harper & Row; 1974.Google Scholar
- 44.Liebow E. Tally’s corner: a study of Negro streetcorner men. Boston: Little Brown; 1977.Google Scholar
- 45.Anderson E. A place on the corner. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1978.Google Scholar
- 47.Nardi PM. Gay men’s friendships: invincible communities. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1999.Google Scholar
- 52.Kippax S, Crawford J, Connell B, Dowsett G, Watson L, Rodden P, et al. The importance of gay community in the prevention of HIV transmission: a study of Australian men who have sex with men: social aspects of the prevention of AIDS project. AIDS Council of NSW and Macquarie University; 1992.Google Scholar
- 54.Kubicek K, Beyer WH, McNeely M, Weiss G, Ultra Omni T, Kipke MD. Community-engaged research to identify House parent perspectives on support and risk within the House and Ball scene. J Sex Res. doi:10.1080/00224499.2011.637248.