“I think there’s a lot of pressure that people think that they can’t be queer and country. They think that they have to go to the bigger cities where there’s a bigger community and able to fit in, and they think, and along with moving to a city, for anyone, it kind of puts pressure on you to like shed your former identity, like country and Appalachian included, to like kind of fit-in in the city, because there’s like a certain type of person in whatever city. So there’s a lot of pressure to kinda change your ways and adapt to this new lifestyle, but you totally don’t have to.
Like even in my situation where I kinda like had to go to a city for other reasons, it was still hard to keep it in check, and to make sure that I was staying current with issues at home, and making sure that I was proud, at all times of being a country queer, both of those, separate and together. But, yeah, I think that it’s just important to remember who you are and where you came from, and not to change for anybody, except yourself if you want to.”
–Kenny, 21 – Southwest, Virginia – August 11, 2013
Kenny was 21 at the time of this interview and was living in Roanoke, Virginia at the time. They talk about growing up in Wytheville, VA, a church youth group that presented itself as a welcoming space to all which later ostracized the LGBTQ youth who had begun to participate, and the isolation they felt while in college in D.C. trying to fit into a metropolitan queer scene.
An updated interview conducted in July 2016 – in which Kenny discusses experiences as a trans-identified gender-non-conforming person in rural Eastern Kentucky and their organizing work in the mountains – will be added to the site soon.
Categories: country queers