Why voguing is all about LGBT resistance

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Like most people, my only reference for voguing until recently was from Madonna’s classic music video, Vogue.

In the video, she’s centre-stage, making angular, linear, rigid movements with her limbs as though she’s on a catwalk.

It’s a glorious mix of freezing, posing, and dancing for a camera that isn’t there, and if you’re naive like me you’ve probably credited Madonna for its popularity.

There is, obviously, another history to tell about this art form. Madonna has been credited as a maestro for an art which she profited from, despite being far from its creator.

In fact, the art gets its name from the poses pictured in Vogue magazine itself.

Armed only with this limited information and wide-eyed wonder, I set out to uncover the history of voguing.

What really piqued my interest was watching a viral video of a group performing at a mass vigil after the Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando last year.

The terror attack was the most devastating attack on LGBT people in recent times, leaving 49 dead and dozens more injured, so I wanted to understand why this dance was seen as the best eulogy for the victims.

It turns out voguing precedes Madonna’s hit single by about two decades.

The art finds its roots in something called the ‘ballroom’ scene in New York City.

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