An introduction to Queer Country, the blog counterpart to Out in the Country: Youth, Media, and Queer Visibility in Rural America by Mary L. Gray.
What this site is about?
This site is (hopefully) not your typical blog. Sure, you’ll find reflections from me about the current state of all things rural and queer that build on the stories discussed in the book (and more on those stories in future blog posts). You’ll also find resource lists and blog rolls of interest to rural queer and questioning youth—those tweens, teens, and early twenty-somethings living beyond the bright lights of a BIG CITY who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer or who are unconvinced that heterosexuality and gender norms are right for them. Queer youth, allies, and advocates might find Queer Country a great place to poll queer peers, swap organizing strategies, or let others know about the work they do. But, ultimately, the goal of Queer Country is to create a space for rural queer and questioning youth to share their stories with each other and those who value their take on life out in the country.
What type of stories should people post to Queer Country?
Out in the Country discusses my experiences working for nearly 2 years in rural parts of Kentucky and in small towns along its borders. I researched what it’s like for queer young people who forego or never make it to the gayborhoods of the BIG CITY. I examined how queer youth and their allies make use of peers, new media, and local resources to combat the marginalization they contend with in their own communities as well as the erasure they face in popular media about gay and lesbian life and the agendas of national gay and lesbian advocacy groups. But Out in the Country is just the first chapter. Queer Country is Part 2 and you are its co-authors.
I’m inviting Queer Country readers to submit their own stories—whether it’s to say the events in Out in the Country reflect your own or to add something completely different and unexpected to the mix.
Out in the Country offers examples of rural LGBT organizing and the lessons they hold for campus, statewide, and national advocacy more broadly. My hope is that conversations about the book will spark debate here about how those invested in national gay and lesbian political work can better address the needs of rural communities. I want Queer Country to bring together the audiences I had in mind when I wrote the book: LGBTQ youth, communities, and our advocates.
I hope you’ll use this blog to expand the boundaries of Queer Country. Email [email protected] and tell readers what it’s like out in your rural queer corner of the world.