The Country Queers podcast features oral history interviews with rural and small-town LGBTQIA+ folks in the U.S. Season One uplifts often unheard stories of rural queer experiences across intersecting layers of identity including race, class, gender identity, age, religion, and occupation. This podcast aims to complicate our collective ideas about rural spaces and queer communities. Subscribe now to get weekly episodes in your feed starting June 30, 2020!

Elandria Williams Country Queers

Elandria Williams identifies as a Black, southern/Appalachian, disabled, genderqueer, pansexual, Unitarian Universalist, “auntiemama” to 3 nieces and nephews and 4 god kids.  E grew up on Cherokee land in Knoxville and Powell, TN. In this interview – recorded at the STAY Project's summer gathering at Highlander in 2013 – E talks about organizing, their complicated feelings about "country," how you can never be anonymous in the town you grew up in, and how much joy they get from seeing youth thrive. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Learn more about this project at For this episode, at Elandria’s suggestion, we’re asking folks who have additional funds to donate to two initiatives: The first is Black, Appalachian, Young & Rising – a Black-led youth program of the STAY Project. STAY is a central Appalachian regional network of young folks 14-30 supporting one another to make their home communities places young people can and want to stay.   The second is the Disability Justice work of the People’s Hub. Elandria is the Executive Director of the People's Hub – a nonprofit that offers live, interactive trainings and workshops to build community power and support grassroots work.   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Host, Producer, and Lead Editor: Rae Garringer Assistant Editor & Musical Magic: Tommie Anderson Editorial Advisory Dream Team: Hermelinda Cortés, Lewis Raven Wallace, and Sharon P. Holland Theme Song: Composed and performed on banjo by Sam Gleaves, pedal steel versions by Rebecca Branson Jones Additional music: Composed and performed on acoustic and electric guitar by Tommie Anderson    
  1. Elandria Williams
  2. David Rodriguez
  3. Tessa
  4. Sharon P. Holland
  5. Crisosto Apache

Support BIPOC queer & trans led projects:

(List updated weekly)

  • Black Appalachian Young & Rising is a Black-led program of the STAY Project. STAY (which stands for Stay Together Appalachian Youth) is a central Appalachian regional network of youth 14-30 working to create sustainable, equitable communities where young folks can and want to stay!
  • Disability Justice Work at the People’s Hub – a nonprofit that offers live, interactive trainings and workshops to build community power and support grassroots work.
  • Healing & Housing for Black Womxn after Bail – the RESIST Campaign is a vision led by formerly incarcerated Black womxn.  Their goal is to ethically find and steward Indigenous land, to build a green, sustainable nest – ultimately creating a space for formerly incarcerated Black womxn – who include caregivers, sex workers, and mothers – to hold, nurture, and heal themselves and their sisters in experience & struggle
  • Support Miguel Mendías in reclaiming his family’s 4th generation Mexican-American adobe home in the high desert of Marfa, TX (unceded Jumano-Apache territory). Miguel is a queer, trans, artist and activist of Czech, Basque, and Raramúri Tarahumara (indigenous Mexican) descent. The house, which belonged to his great-grandmother, was threatened with public auction by the county and is in a remote part of Texas that has experienced rapid gentrification.
  • Reunion: Family & Black Land Stewardship Melisse Watson is a Black indigenous queer non binary artist from Tkaronto, Dish with One Spoon wampum territory. They are raising money to buy land in Georgia where their birth father’s family has lived for generations – for the purposes of land regeneration, building community with Black and Indigenous farmers and earth workers, working towards land sovereignty, and protecting and restoring the land, reclaiming it from the state. If you’d like to support by offering building materials or support, equipment and more email
  • My Sistahs House is a grassroots, direct services and advocacy organization that was founded in 2016 by two trans women of color who sought to bridge a gap in services for trans and queer people of color in Memphis, TN. They currently have a 6 bedroom house that serves as emergency housing for TGNC people of color, and they are fundraising to build 20 tiny homes for trans women – expanding on their housing security work!
  • Navajo Nation Covid-19 Relief Fund
  • White Mountain Apache Tribe’s Covid-19 Relief Fund
  • Where Freedom Grows support Carlin Rushing – a Black queer southern organizer – in buying back a house her family lost to white banks nearly 50 years ago, that sits on land her family has stewarded for generations in the Piedmont of North Carolina.
  • Build a Black led regenerative Farm Kiley is a Black queer woman who is fundraising to start a farm on the west coast “where Queer folx can get their hands in the dirt, where our communities can thrive, laugh, and be fed.”

Help sustain this rural-queer-led central-Appalachian-based project on Patreon!

Production Team

Host, Producer, & Lead Editor Rae Garringer (they/them) is a writer, oral historian, and audio producer who grew up on a sheep farm in southeastern West Virginia and now makes their home in the mountains of east Kentucky. When they started this project in 2013 they had no formal training in media production or oral history, but an intense frustration with the lack of easily accessible rural queer history. Since then, Country Queers has evolved into an ongoing multimedia oral history project which includes a collection of 65 oral histories from 15 states, a traveling gallery exhibition, and the Country Queers podcast. Along the way Rae completed a MA in Folklore & American Studies at UNC Chapel Hill and gained audio production chops as the Public Affairs Director at Appalshop’s WMMT 88.7fm.
Assistant Editor & Musical Magic Tommie Anderson (she/they) came up through a hard scrabble life in East Kentucky, where the magic of the woods and the guidance of a found community of creators and storytellers gave her her roots. Tommie learned to express herself with sound starting as a baby beating on pots and pans. Later in life she worked as a teacher and program coordinator for two after-school traditional mountain music programs: WiseJAMs in southwest Virginia and WMMT’s Passing the Pick and Bow in east Kentucky. Tommie learned the technical side of audio and visual production as a teenager at the Appalachian Media Institute, a project of Appalshop Inc. in Whitesburg, Kentucky, where she spent half her time as an intern/youth producer and the other half as a trainer. Knowing the importance of being able to speak and be heard, Tommie uses all the well-worn tools in her arsenal to amplify and motivate the voices and spirits of those who yearn to be heard and felt. 

Editorial Advisory Dream Team

Hermelinda Cortés (she/they) is the daughter of a Mexican immigrant father and a white factory-workinʼ mama. Raised in the country amidst the Southern delicacies of potato salad and mole, she is a working class Xicana Queer Feminist mama from the heart of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. A luddite techie at heart, she schemes and daydreams about liberation and movement driven communications to build lasting connections between communities and to strategically dismantle systems of domination. She currently works on narrative power building at ReFrame after a decade of organizing and communications brujería. Hermelinda returned to the rolling blue hills of Virginia in 2012 where she writes, cooks, and kicks it with her dogs, kid, chickens, and chosen familia. She believes in the magic, alchemy, strategy, and revolutionary possibilities of small towns and rural people.

Lewis Raven Wallace (he/they/ze) is an independent trans journalist, a co-founder of Press On a southern movement journalism collective, and the host of The View from Somewhere  a podcast about the history of “objectivity” in journalism and how marginalized journalists have challenged the status quo. Lewis focuses on the voices of people who are geographically, economically and politically marginalized, and loves stories about water, place and collective action. Lewis makes their home in Durham, NC.

Sharon P. Holland (she/her) is a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in the American Studies Department. She is a graduate of Princeton University and holds a PhD in English and African American Studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is the author of RAISING THE DEAD: READINGS OF DEATH AND (BLACK) SUBJECTIVITY , The Erotic Life of Racism, and the co-author of a collection of trans-Atlantic Afro-Native criticism Crossing Waters / Crossing Worlds: The African Diaspora in Indian Country.  Sharon is also a horse riding, gardening, big-truck driving country queer who shared her story with this project in June 2017!


Our theme song was written & performed on banjo by the sweetest singing country queer Sam Gleaves – who was one of the first people to share his story with this project in 2013! Pedal steel versions of the song were performed by Rebecca Branson Jones. Additional music on acoustic and electric guitar was written and performed by Tommie Anderson.

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