Updated: Aug 11, 2021
We are still taking applications for storytellers for our live community storytelling event!
Our hope for this event is to provide platform for a diversity of queer voices and stories, and to broaden the representation and visibility of our local community. Our stories are richly unique, and not often told by the mainstream media. Our lives reflect often complicated and nuanced intersections of place, family, race, class, age, and religion.
In spirit of this, we thought we’d highlight a few organizations doing great work documenting the stories of Southern rural and small town LGBTQIA+ community.
The first is Country Queers, a multimedia oral history project documenting rural LGBTQIA+ stories. Oral histories, guided by interviewer Rae Garringer, are recorded and woven into podcast format. The project also features a traveling gallery exhibit of beautiful photographs capturing queer rural life. Two specific project aims speak directly to the uniqueness of rural queer identity: 1- complicating ideas about who and what make up rural spaces and resisting the narrative that rural communities are monolithic, and 2- pushing back against the narrative that queer people can only thrive in major metropolitan spaces. Currently, the project has over 70 oral history interviews spanning 15 states.
The second resource we’d like to highlight is the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project, a community-led history initiative that is committed to researching and telling the stories of LGBTQ+ individuals in southwest Virginia. The project maintains a physical archive located in the Roanoke Public Library, an online digital archive, oral history collection, and podcast series. In addition, the initiative provides free monthly walking tours, exploring the queer history of three different areas of Roanoke, VA.
Please check out these organizations to learn more!
Other recommended reading:
The Queer South: LGBTQ Writers on the American South, Edited by Douglas Ray
LGBTQ Fiction and Poetry from Appalachia, Edited by Jeff Mann and Julia Watts
Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South, By E. Patrick Johnson
Black. Queer. Southern. Women. An Oral History By E. Patrick Johnson