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!

Episode 0 – Introducing Country Queers Country Queers

When Rae Garringer set out to gather rural and small town LGBTQIA+ histories in 2013, they had no formal training in oral history or audio recording. They were motivated by a deep frustration that it was so hard to find rural queer stories, and an intense personal need to connect with other rural queers. In this episode you'll learn more about Rae and the history of the ongoing multimedia oral history project: Country Queers.   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Learn more at   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 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, performed on pedal steel by Rebecca Branson Jones   * * * * * * * * * * * * * *    Special Thanks to: Laura Starecheski and AIR Media's mentorship program, Hideo Higashibaba, Riley Cockrell, Abby Huggins, Deya Terrafranca, Annie Terrafranca, Sam Gleaves, Benny Becker, Sam Hamlin, Beth White, Yasmine Farhang, Lynn Creamer, Jai Arun Ravine, Theresa Smith-Garringer, and Brandon Jent. 
  1. Episode 0 – Introducing Country Queers
  2. Trailer

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. 

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.

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!

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