How the LGBTQIA+ Community Has Historically Expressed Itself Through Fashion & Dance

Buds on flowers stay closed, secretly growing in an individual and unique beauty, until the sun shines upon them at the right moment. They then unfurl and share their splendor with the world. The LGBTQIA+ community has thrived for years, and it is opening up and sharing its brilliant facets for all to see. There are many ways this vibrant community communicates particular values. Here are two important means of expression for LGBTQIA+ society.


Fashion is a major part of LGBTQIA+ society. Some high-fashion designers such as Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce, the founders of couture brand Dolce & Gabbana, specialize in using outside elements to create new designs. However, many artists within the LGBTQIA+ community are sharing their original work and concepts with a receptive public through platforms such as Depop. This site is not only a shop but also an important forum for ideas.

Fashion serves many important purposes for this group, including:

Encouragement –

Certain fashions can make people feel certain ways. Styles and types of clothing to which people are drawn can help them feel beautiful and confident. Many LGBTQIA+ clothing designers and artists are using fashion as a medium to boost confidence and mood.

Protection – 

Fashion can be a safety net, rather like beautiful armor. It both announces the wearer’s tastes and the individual’s purpose at that time, the direction in which that life is headed in that moment, and as such is a wearable barrier, pushing away unnecessary questions.

Freedom – 

Fashion is a way of exploring who one is. Donning an article of clothing not normally worn can help the wearer experience a different identity. This is integral for LGBTQIA+ society, where open expression has not always been possible for actual safety reasons or other socially-related difficulties it might cause.

Fashion is certainly a way for everyone to express themselves, but those in the LGBTQIA+ community who are conscious of wardrobe choices also find deeper reasons for wearing specific clothes.


Body movements have been used to express the full range of human emotions and experiences from the earliest days of the human race. Not surprisingly, the LGBTQIA+ enjoys focused movements. Voguing is a dance style developed in the 1980s in Harlem, New York. Young African Americans and Latinos who identified with the LGBTQIA+ community organized generalized movements into a form and pattern. Voguing is a type of stylized dance that is part of the ballroom scene. Ballroom refers to venues where voguing takes place, but it also refers to the entire culture surrounding this movement. It is a way of life.

Voguing can bring peer recognition and respect, and it can also lead to empowerment and self-respect. It helps individuals find the courage to be themselves and furthermore, to celebrate themselves. Named after the high-fashion magazine, voguing is linked with the couture world and ideas of economic and social mobility and luxury.

This dance style features dramatic movements of legs and hands based on elements of jazz and modern dance as well as classical ballet. Some voguers are professional dancers. The Ritual of the Ball is where community members strut their stuff. Voguing is about improvisatory movements for the whole body. There are multiple traditions in this dance, including:

Runway – 

Dancers coolly move forward and backward with minimal upper body movement in mimicry of fashion show scenes.

Body – 

Dancers present a body shape representing an ideal within the community. This ranges from a thin model body to voluptuous curves to muscles. The dancer presents themselves in a dramatic and physical way.

Face – 

Competitors boldly present their faces. They may frame them with their hands for emphasis.

Ultimately, voguing is about accepting oneself and embracing individual beauty.

Self-acceptance and freedom to live without fetters is a gift for all. The LGBTQIA+ community is rich with exciting ways to share individual uniqueness with the world.

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