About True T Pittsburgh
John Easter (Dez’manian) | Duane Binion (Naheen)
Founded in 2010 by John ‘Dez’ Easter and Duane ‘Naheen’ Binion, True T PGH (formerly True T Entertainment) serves as a community platform for LGBTQ resource sharing, queer arts, activism, and entertainment. Through community outreach and safe space making, we provide meaningful resources while giving back to our community. Collaboration and volunteer work have allowed us to build budding relationships with other numerous local and regional individuals and organizations.
Since 2012 our Annual Galaxy Ball series has invested more than $50,000.00 back into our local ballroom community in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has a thriving underground ballroom scene where socialization takes place and culture is exchanged. Numerous historians and cultural commentators have traced the origins of today’s house ball scene to the notorious culture of Harlem drag balls in 1920s and 1930s New York. Black queer people were not welcome or accepted in the local drag queen circuit due to racism and segregation. Thus, we made our own space and culture which has lasted for decades and has spread all over the world. Ball Culture is like a secret society of lgbtqia+ people of color to embrace each other and themselves while making everyone feel important.
Today’s house ball scene features over 100 active “houses” in more than 15 states across the country. In Pittsburgh alone, there are at least 10 recorded houses with memberships of a dozen or more: The House of Elite, Devine, West, Khan, Ebony, Revlon, Mizrahi, Lanvin, Balenciaga, Valentino, St. Clair, Khan, and Infiniti. While every individual ball can often have dozens, sometimes even hundreds, of specific criteria, all of the categories are still organized around six major concepts: realness, face, sex appeal and body, runway, performance, and fashion.
“Entertainment is the nucleus of our culture, but the development of personal wellness and community building is equally as important. Incorporating everyday resources and education into our entertainment format allows us to provide all of our shortcomings in a safe space to express our artistry while documenting and archiving our history for generations to come through film, media, creative art, and conversation.”
– True T PGH Executive Directors
Nooni “The Studio Cat”