Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

STRIKE A POSE: Ballroom Icon and Trans Actress Cece Suazo Proves Not All Heroes Wear Capes

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

STRIKE A POSE: Ballroom Icon and Trans Actress Cece Suazo Proves Not All Heroes Wear Capes

Article excerpt

Cece Suazo (aka Camille LeBeija) has seen it all. The trans ballroom icon has been a force in her community as house mother of the prestigious House of LaBeija, where she's been a member for 26 years. She continues to inspire the many youths she's mentored.

Growing up, Suazo's passion for performing ripened at an early age, leading to her being discovered by members of the House of LaBeija when she was just 12 years old. The infamous Pepper and Porsche LaBeija took her off the streets and groomed her to become one of the House's most memorable performers--an act of kindness she continues to pay forward.

"Being homeless made me value and overcome any obstacle set in front of me," says Suazo. "There are going to be hurdles, but do you just stop living or keep on going? I chose to keep on going. I believe my faith and strength has gotten me through the storm and trials."

As a transgender actress, Suazo has also been a vocal presence advocating for more diverse casting. After all, she says, "a trans actor [or] actress can play any role they set their mind too, it doesn't necessarily mean telling your own narrative." Her role as a biracial lesbian in the off-Broadway play Incongruence broke barriers in the theater community, opening a wider dialogue on the trans experience.

Having been present during the filming of Paris Is Burning (the 1990 documentary about the New York City ballroom scene), Suazo has seen first-hand the evolution of ballroom over a span of nearly four decades. …

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