"House Mothers": Motherhood Redefined for LGBT Youth

House Mother Aisha Diori of the House of Prodigy

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for guidance. Without hesitation, she accepted Symba into her own life and has mentored him for over ten years. “She became my house mother, but she also became my mentor.”

The ten-year relationship between the two has been a catalyst for Symba to pave the road forward for those who will come after him. By creating a make-shift shelter in his home, he began to offer his own home to homeless youth and impoverished youth. With his limited means he made a limitless impact, through the effect of Aisha’s mentorship.

Youth in the LGBT community face a vast array of verbal and physical discrimination. Furthermore, transgender youth and communities of color face discrimination and violence at alarmingly higher rates. In 2010, The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports that LGBT people of color were among 70 percent of the murders. The recent murder of transgender advocate, Brandy Martell in Oakland, the May 2012 sentencing of Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald and the expulsion of Darnell “Dynasty” Young in Indianapolis highlight the devastating reality. Overall, the LGBT youth communities feel unsafe in society and in their own schools. Aisha’s committed to changing that.

While ballroom culture may have a fringe following—the endless support by house mothers for youth communities of color has a far-reaching impact. In recognition of Mother’s Day, their lead and example does not go unnoticed. Their resilience is tremendous. Their selflessness is invaluable.

Marcus Brock is a Media Field Strategist at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Follow him on Twitter @broccolimarcus