Despite its name, the House is not a physical domicile but instead a group who work to take care of themselves, and to uplift each other’s power, beauty, and artistic talents amid a worsening culture of discrimination against queer and trans people. Over time, House of Grace has evolved into a tight-knit yet welcoming community—and a family.
“To me, a family is a group of people that are willing to support each other through the unpredictable, imperfect and complex experience of being human,” María José, 28, tells TIME. “A collective that will stand up for each other against any threat.”
María José had first gathered the group to practice dancing as a language to express liberation. That was when Lú, a founding member of the House, first learned to vogue
—an opportunity to embrace their gender identity. Lú now speaks of voguing with the same sparkle that they use to describe their House: “I was very discriminated against as a ballet dancer. I had always been very feminine, [and] was constantly told I had to be more masculine,” Lú explains. “In vogue I found a celebration of the nonbinary.”