Culture

'Legendary' Star Leiomy Enters the Metaverse With Dream House

The judge of the HBO Max series believes the digital world will be more inclusive than the real one.

By
39,148 Hypes

It’s no secret that our society can be quite hostile to the LGBTQ+ community as the slew of legislation in America has made it quite clear that queer people are second-class citizens. Iconic ballroom dancer Leiomy Maldonado of HBO Max‘s Legendary can attest to the power of the metaverse as an inclusive safe space for marginalized communities.

As the digital realm continues to merge with the physical one, more of us are finding freedom and solace in the online sphere as it allows for more experimentation. Having experienced ostracization and ignorance in her youth, Maldonado believes that the metaverse can be a welcoming place for all as it presents the opportunity to truly create your own identity.

The fierce dancer has partnered with Meta on Metaverse Culture Series: Dream House hosted in Horizon Worlds. Driven by the desire to integrate diverse perspectives and culture into the emerging digital world, Maldonado is among the LGTBQ+ leaders who are working to empower others within immersive environments.

Dream House is now open to the public in Horizon Worlds, which can be accessed through a Quest 2 headset. Continue reading for Hypebae’s interview with Leoimy on the power of the metaverse, inclusivity and more.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the metaverse having the potential for being a more inclusive space for marginalized communities, especially during a time when legislation is making the physical world more inhospitable for LGTBQ+ people.

I believe that the metaverse will give people more of a chance to create their own space and different worlds. Even with avatars, you can imagine yourself however you’d like to be. I feel like a lot of times when it comes to being in social spaces, many are not comfortable existing as their true selves as well as meeting new people. I feel like the metaverse can be more of a safe space for people where they will feel more open to trying new things, experimenting and just having fun being a part of the digital realm.

How did you find dance and how have you used the art form to affirm your identity, as well as take up space as a transgender woman?

I found voguing at a very young age and it helped me learn my strengths. It’s a competitive world and you have to have thick skin. Through dancing, I was able to get in touch with my own sense of womanhood and femininity. As a trans woman, I often found myself fighting with my body, but throughout the years I realized that being a strong woman, physically, mentally and spiritually is beautiful and is something to celebrate. That’s how I stand here today.

Why is the history of ball important to the LGBTQ+ community, especially for queer people of color?

I think a lot of people forget the history behind ball. It started off as drag pageants and a lot of the women of color were being cheated and went out on their own. Ballroom started as a celebration of our own community. Nowadays, brands don’t include people of color for Pride. They create spaces and give jobs to white people, but if it wasn’t for the contributions of queer people of color, there would be no Pride. It’s incredibly important to reclaim certain spaces and remember that history, especially when Black trans people are dying in the numbers.

What are your thoughts on the latest pieces of legislation affecting trans athletes and the LBTQ+ community as a whole?

With an overwhelmingly negative news cycle, you’re constantly having to dig up and relive trauma. Given the platform I have, I think it’s important to use joy as an act of resistance and celebrate the moments you can’t. We’ve been able to fight off a lot of the things that were created against us and with ballroom, we have been able to overcome so much. We are absolutely fighting for trans kids. They deserve to have spaces that celebrate them for everything that they want to be. If they want to be athletes, let them be athletes. We shouldn’t be put in a box and we shouldn’t be told no, just because of how we identify. It may take a long time but as long as we’re doing the work, things will change. The movement needs to happen with our own people.

What advice would you give to younger people who may be in communities or situations where they’re not really allowed to express themselves?

It’s tough because I want to be able to remove those people from those spaces. I think the best thing to do when you’re in a stifling situation is to find people who will be there for them and will celebrate them. Unfortunately, these things are happening, but there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel and there’s always someone there that will see you for you.

Did you have any mentors or community figures that really helped you feel more sure of yourself growing up?

My gay mother Tahiri was a huge mentor of mine along my journey in helping me embrace who I am and guiding me through things I wasn’t understanding of. I feel like a lot of people deserve to have someone help them navigate life. For many LGBTQ+ folks, family may not always be the best to go to. It hurts to know that your own family may not understand you but having someone in the world who does can really help you grow more confident in your identity and accept you.

Can you discuss the importance of having a chosen family?

Having a chosen family was extremely important for me because while I felt like my family was respectful of my transition, they didn’t understand it, which affected me negatively. I personally didn’t want to deal with ignorance. I left home and being a part of a chosen family, I was able to learn so much more about myself. As a woman of color and being Latina, I went through so much in life and my chosen family kept me grounded. They kept me hopeful and in a place where I felt seen and I felt like I belonged. Because of them, I was able to soar and become the person that I am today.

Read Full Article
Share this article

What to Read Next

Doja Cat To Enter The Metaverse in Raunchy Comedy Game, 'House Party'
Tech

Doja Cat To Enter The Metaverse in Raunchy Comedy Game, 'House Party'

A portion of the proceeds will go to the singer’s charity of choice.
14,522 Hypes

Is Gucci About to Become the Metaverse's Favorite Auction House?
Art & Design

Is Gucci About to Become the Metaverse's Favorite Auction House?

Presenting the new (Auction) House of Gucci.
3,293 Hypes

The Future Is Here: Look Inside Decentraland's Metaverse Fashion Week
Fashion 

The Future Is Here: Look Inside Decentraland's Metaverse Fashion Week

We speak to the event’s organizer about the future of web3 and how it’ll impact fashion.
38,661 Hypes


The Glaring Issue With Facebook's Safety Bubble Feature in the Metaverse
Sex & Dating

The Glaring Issue With Facebook's Safety Bubble Feature in the Metaverse

Is its “safe zone” truly safe?
515 Hypes

SG5 Is the New Japanese Girl Group Debuting in Collaboration With 'Sailor Moon'
Music

SG5 Is the New Japanese Girl Group Debuting in Collaboration With 'Sailor Moon'

The quintet will make their US debut in LA this week.
9,899 Hypes

Johnny Depp's Rep Denies Reports of Disney's $301 Million USD Deal
Entertainment

Johnny Depp's Rep Denies Reports of Disney's $301 Million USD Deal

It was reported that Disney wanted the actor to reprise his role as Captain Jack Sparrow.
107,831 Hypes

Lanvin x Suicoke Join Forces on Slides Inspired by the Curb Sneaker
Footwear

Lanvin x Suicoke Join Forces on Slides Inspired by the Curb Sneaker

A summer-ready version of the chunky kicks.
2,400 Hypes

The Latest New Balance 550 Is How Minimalists Do Multicolor
Footwear

The Latest New Balance 550 Is How Minimalists Do Multicolor

The chillest way to do brights.
3,883 Hypes

Wildflower Cases Closes Out Pride Month With Trixie Mattel Collaboration
Tech

Wildflower Cases Closes Out Pride Month With Trixie Mattel Collaboration

Inspired by the drag star’s latest album, ‘The Blonde & Pink.’
683 Hypes

Stalker Breaks Into Ariana Grande's Home on Her Birthday
Entertainment

Stalker Breaks Into Ariana Grande's Home on Her Birthday

The musician has reportedly had a restraining order against him since last September.
2,999 Hypes


Nina Chanel Abney's Jordan Apparel Is a Literal Masterpiece
Fashion

Nina Chanel Abney's Jordan Apparel Is a Literal Masterpiece

Frame worthy ‘fits dropping July 8.
39,234 Hypes

Let's Unpack the Toxic Impact of 'Fifty Shades of Grey'
Sex & Dating

Let's Unpack the Toxic Impact of 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

Recent comments by the franchise’s former actress Dakota Johnson point to an important discussion about the book’s author.
1,579 Hypes

The “Transparent Eyeliner” Hack Is Having a Moment on TikTok
Beauty

The “Transparent Eyeliner” Hack Is Having a Moment on TikTok

Here’s what you need to know about the “ghost eye” trend.
4,794 Hypes

More ▾
 
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Keep updated on the latest news.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Looks like you’re using an ad-blocker

We charge advertisers instead of our readers. Support us by whitelisting our site.

Whitelist Us

How to Whitelist Us

screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlock icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Under “Pause on this site” click “Always”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlock Plus icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Block ads on – This website” switch off the toggle to turn it from blue to gray.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlocker Ultimate icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Switch off the toggle to turn it from “Enabled on this site” to “Disabled on this site”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the Ghostery icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click on the “Ad-Blocking” button at the bottom. It will turn gray and the text above will go from “ON” to “OFF”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the UBlock Origin icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click on the large blue power icon at the top.
  3. When it turns gray, click the refresh icon that has appeared next to it or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the icon of the ad-blocker extension installed on your browser.You’ll usually find this icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. You may have more than one ad-blocker installed.
  2. Follow the instructions for disabling the ad blocker on the site you’re viewing.You may have to select a menu option or click a button.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.