LGBTQ INFORMATION NETWORK │ RAINBOW OF RESOURCES

RURAL

 

NBC News Report: Gay in Rural America

LGBTQ Community is Transforming the South

GLAAD Stories: LGBTQ Life in the South

All American Boy: Country Song by Steve Grand

Rednecks for Black Lives: Southerners Fight for Racial Justice

Finding LGBTQ Community in the Rural South

LGBTQ Nation: Rural Pride Events

MAP Report: LGBTQ People in Rural America

Pride Source: Rural Americans Are LGBTQ Too

Being LGBTQ in the Deep South

Country Queers: Joy and Pain of Rural LGBTQ Life

Leslie Jordan: Southern Gay

Matt and Blue: Gay Family Living in a Small Town

Small Town Gay Pride Parade

Better This Way: Country Song by Doug Strahm

Wild West: Much Gayer Than You Think

Being Queer in the Country

Small Town in South Dakota: Champion for Its LGBTQ Neighbors

Pride Source: Real Gay Cowboys

Dancing in the Living Room: Country Song by Cameron Hawthorn

 

Small Town LGBTQ Pride

What does LGBTQ pride look like in places like South Carolina or Georgia? How does it feel to be gay in Mississippi or Louisiana? What is life like for an LGBTQ person in Alabama or Tennessee?  How is LGBTQ pride different in Texas or Florida?

 

You should attend a rural gay pride event this year. Why? Because, you just might learn a little something about LGBTQ country folks. You probably do not realize that LGBTQ people actually live in small towns. You very likely do not know that there are LGBTQ farmers, ranchers, cowboys, and cowgirls. They go fly fishing, mudding, hunting, and square dancing. You may not be aware that there are gay rodeos and gay chili cook-offs and gay country music singers.

 

 

Look up a rural pride event this summer. Go to it. And lend your support to the LGBTQ folks who live in the country.  Clap at the little parade, consume large quantities of barbeque, dance in a barn, make out with a hot cowboy or cowgirl, encourage a teen, hug a drag queen, listen to an elder, give money to a PFLAG chapter.

LGBTQ people live in rural America, in little towns all across Appalachia. They work there, go to school, own property, pay taxes, raise families, attend churches, shop and donate to charity. They don’t have a lot of gay bars, LGBTQ sports clubs, drag shows or neighborhoods where they can hold hands with their partners. Nonetheless, they live in these rural settings. They have friends and families there. They are part of the community. And sometimes, depending on the attitudes of the locals, they do it under a great deal of stress.

 

Oftentimes, rural mindsets do not take well to LGBTQ issues. People who live in small southern towns tend to be more traditional, more conservative in their perspectives.  Their worldview is typically not affected by outside influences and often colored by their religious upbringing and conventional mores. So, a gay country boy is a contradiction in terms.

 

On the other hand, it may be surprising for you to learn that there is some degree (and in some cases, a great degree) of openness and acceptance for the LGBTQ community in the larger metropolitan areas in the south, like Atlanta, Nashville, Birmingham, Houston, Orlando, and New Orleans. While they are located in the conservative south, these are not small towns or rural areas by any definition. Many of these urban centers host a thriving LGBTQ community.

 

Gay Rodeo: Hall of Fame

LGBTQ Pride in Rural Missouri

Pride Source: Rural Americans Are LGBTQ Too

Country Queers: Joy and Pain of Rural LGBTQ Life

International Gay Rodeo Association: John King Interview

PFLAG: Experiences of LGBTQ Students in Small Rural Towns

In the Face of Discrimination: LGBTQ Farmers are Hopeful

Advocate: What is a Cottagecore Lesbian?

Leslie Jordan: Southern Gay

Time: Country Song by Steve Grand

Matt and Blue: Southern Boys

LGBTQ Nation: Lesbian and Trans Hillbillies Taking Over Rural America

Being LGBTQ in the Deep South

Gay Rodeo History

LGBTQ Institute: Southern Survey

 

 

Finding the LGBTQ Community in the Rural South

Redneck Lesbo by Jennifer Corday

Country Queers: Oral Histories

Being Gay in Tennessee Wasn't Always Easy

International Gay Rodeo Association

Tyler and Todd: Living Off the Grid

LGBTQ People: Fundamental Part of the Fabric of Rural Communities

Interview: Married Mountain Men of West Virginia

Hometown: Country Song by Brandon Stansell

Josh Burford: Chronicler of Southern LGBTQ History

GLAAD Stories: LGBTQ Life in the South

Advocate: Champions of Pride from the South

South Florida Gay News: Queering the Redneck Riviera

Huff Post: Lesbian Farmers: Growing Rural America

Being Gay and Lesbian in Appalachia

Point of Pride: How to Be Queer in a Small Town

Gay Farmers: Bilkurra Homestead

Conversation with Gay Fly Fisherman

 

 

Growing Up Gay in the Christian South

Pride Source: Real Gay Cowboys

Farming is Tough: Being LGBTQ Makes it Tougher

Queer in Rural America

Black and Gay in Birmingham

Son of a Preacher Man: Country Song by Tom Goss

Fabulous Beekman Boys: Gay Green Acres

LGBTQ Community is Transforming the South

Growing Up Gay in Appalachia

Gay Prom in Birmingham

Finding LGBTQ Community in the Rural South

Lesbian Farmers: Redefining Rural America

Clearly Gay in Small Town Alabama

LGBTQ Pride Festivals in Rural Canada

Country Teens

Growing Up Gay in the Country

Slow Down: Country Song by Brandon Stansell and Ty Herndon

 

 

Gay Life in Rural America

Millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people live in rural areas of the United States — largely by choice, according to a report released earlier this month by the LGBTQ think tank Movement Advancement Project. MAP’s report estimates between 2.9 million and 3.8 million lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people live in rural America, comprising approximately 3 to 5 percent of the estimated 62 million people who live in rural areas.

“We so often overlook that LGBTQ people live in rural communities,” Logan Casey, a MAP policy researcher and one of the report’s lead authors, said. “But being LGBTQ doesn’t mean you want to go live in a coastal city.” The report notes that LGBTQ people are drawn to rural areas for many of the same reasons as their heterosexual counterparts — proximity to family, a tight-knit community and a connection to the land. However, the report also found rural LGBTQ communities are uniquely affected by the “structural challenges and other aspects of rural life,” which it notes could “amplify the impacts of both rejection and acceptance.”

 



The report found the social and political landscape of rural areas makes LGBTQ people “more vulnerable to discrimination. Public opinion in rural areas is generally less supportive of LGBTQ people and policies, and rural states are significantly less likely to have vital nondiscrimination laws and more likely to have harmful, discriminatory laws,” the report states.

Simple, everyday actions can also be fraught, especially for transgender people. According to the report, 34 percent of trans people report discrimination on public transportation and 18 percent report harassment at a gym or health club. These numbers apply to rural and urban residents, but Casey’s research indicates that lack of alternative options and the importance of public spaces in small, tight-knit communities can make harassment harder to bear in rural areas.

The report also notes the geographic distance and isolation of rural areas can present challenges for LGBTQ people. “If someone experiences discrimination at a doctor’s office, school or job, it’s less likely there’s another option close by,” Casey explained.

The report also found those in rural areas have less access to LGBTQ-specific resources. Fifty-seven percent of LGBTQ adults in urban areas have access to an LGBTQ health center, while only 11 percent of those in rural areas do. And when it comes to senior services, almost half of LGBTQ adults have access to LGBTQ senior services, compared to just 10 percent of their rural counterparts.



There was also an urban-rural divide when it comes to the school climate for LGBTQ youth. Almost 60 percent of LGBTQ youth in urban areas reported having a gay-straight alliance club in their school, compared to just 36 percent of LGBTQ youth in rural areas.

The smaller populations of rural areas can also complicate matters for LGBTQ people, because they are more likely to stand out. This can make them more vulnerable to discrimination but also keep problems they face under the radar.

One of the biggest challenges the report identifies is health care. Fifty six percent of gay, lesbian and bisexual people across the country reported at least one instance of discrimination or patient profiling in a health care setting. According to statistics cited in the report, more than 40 percent of nonmetropolitan LGBTQ people said if they were turned away by their local hospital, it would be “very difficult” or “not possible” for them to find an alternative, compared to 18 percent of the general LGBTQ population, according to a statistic cited in the report.

 



Transgender people often struggle to find health care providers knowledgeable about gender-affirming care and are more likely to have such care denied by their insurance provider. Trans people of color often face the added burden of providers with a lack of cultural competency for their community. Trans people are also 15 percent more likely to have transition-related surgery denied by their insurance if they live in a rural area.

While challenges for LGBTQ people can be “amplified” in rural areas, the report also found bright spots for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people living in nonmetropolitan communities. Same-sex couples and LGBTQ individuals are raising children in rural areas at higher rates than urban areas. Some LGBTQ people feel safer in rural areas than urban areas.

 

While social conditions in the area are changing, there are still legal and policy hurdles. “LGBTQ people in rural areas are disproportionately harmed by the lack of protections and the presence of discriminatory laws,” the report states. “The current policy landscape demonstrates the clear and urgent need for federal and state nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people.”

[Source: Avichai Scher, NBC News, April 2019]

 

Pride Source: Rural Americans Are LGBTQ Too

Country Queers: Joy and Pain of Rural LGBTQ Life

PFLAG: Experiences of LGBTQ Students in Small Rural Towns

In the Face of Discrimination: LGBTQ Farmers are Hopeful

Advocate: What is a Cottagecore Lesbian?

Ride Me Cowboy by Paisley Fields

Queering the Redneck Riviera

Advocate: Champions of Pride from the South

LGBTQ Nation: Lesbian and Trans Hillbillies Taking Over Rural America

Being LGBTQ in the Deep South

Finding the LGBTQ Community in the Rural South

Country Queers: Oral Histories

Being Gay in Tennessee Wasn't Always Easy

GLAAD Stories: LGBTQ Life in the South

 

 

Huff Post: Lesbian Farmers: Growing Rural America

Being Gay and Lesbian in Appalachia

Matt and Blue: Southern Boys

Wishing Well by Jamie Wyatt

LGBTQ People: Fundamental Part of the Fabric of Rural Communities

Point of Pride: How to Be Queer in a Small Town

Farming is Tough: Being LGBTQ Makes it Tougher

Queer in Rural America

Fabulous Beekman Boys: Gay Green Acres

LGBTQ Community is Transforming the South

Redneck Lesbo by Jennifer Corday

Growing Up Gay in Appalachia

Finding LGBTQ Community in the Rural South

Lesbian Farmers: Redefining Rural America

I'm Not in Love With You by Justin Hiltner and Jon Weisberger

Clearly Gay in Small Town Alabama

 

 

Cottagecore Lesbians

Longing to escape to the countryside with your queer girlfriend? You're not alone. If you're on social media platforms like TikTok, Tumblr and Pinterest, you've likely noticed the "cottagecore" trend that's getting popular with queer women and femmes. All at once, everyone seems to want to quit their jobs and run off to upstate Vermont to pick apples, raise chickens, and live their best woman-loving-woman life.

It's caught on so much that the The New York Times published a feature about it in March 2020. "Take modern escapist fantasies like tiny homes, voluntary simplicity, forest bathing and screen-free childhoods, then place them inside a delicate, moss-filled terrarium, and the result will look a lot like cottagecore," says writer Isabel Slone.

The cottagecore aesthetic, however, is rooted in real-world issues like climate change, the global pandemic, and safe spaces for LGBTQ people.

 


Essentially, the cottagecore aesthetic is images of idealized life on a Western farm — cozy little houses surrounded by gardens, fields of wildflowers, forest glades, and cute farm animals. Occasionally you'll find fantasy elements like fairies and goblins thrown in. If you're into nostalgia, books, baking, teacups, prairie dresses, flower crowns, picnic baskets, knitting, embroidery, Hozier, ceramic frogs for some reason, and strolling through farmers' markets, cottagecore might be the movement for you.

Writer Katherine Gillespie of Paper Magazine puts it this way: "The politics of cottagecore are thoughtfully prelapsarian: what if we could go back to a time before the planet was ravaged by industry, except with added protections for marginalized queer communities? What if we all lived like tradwives, minus the husbands?"

And, if you really identify with this idea, you can even fly your own Pride flag (presumably in a very small Pride parade through your imaginary rustic village), with soft, natural, earth-tone shades.

Much of the cottagecore movement is actually a response to people being dissatistfied with their hectic, crowded lives in cities or suburbs, and the feelings of burnout that come with it. Tired of the minimalist aesthetic that's dominated interior design in the last ten years, they're decorating their apartments with potted plants and porcelain teacups, and taking comfort in old-fashioned hobbies like arts & crafts and baking. The NY Times calls it "an aspirational form of nostalgia that praises the benefits of living a slow life."
 

[Source: Christine Linnell, Advocate Magazine]

 

 

Queering Country Music

 

Queer Country Music Artists Fans Should Know About

All American Boy by Steve Grand

Time by Steve Grand

Jennifer Corday: Lesbian Country Rocker

Redneck Lesbo by Jennifer Corday

Heartbeat by Jennifer Corday

Dancing in the Living Room by Cameron Hawthorn

Take the Journey by Molly Tuttle

Chely Wright: Return to the Grand Ole Opry

So Small by Ty Herndon

Slow Down by Brandon Stansell and Ty Herndon

Hometown by Brandon Stansell

Fink and Marxer: Queer Bluegrass

Darling Cora by Amythyst Kiah

I'm Not in Love With You by Justin Hiltner and Jon Weisberger

Son of a Preacher Man by Tom Goss

Neon Cross by Jamie Wyatt

Wishing Well by Jamie Wyatt

Justin Hiltner: Subversive Twist on a Familiar Motif

Limp Wrist and a Steady Hand by My Gay Banjo

Country Boys in the City by My Gay Banjo

Porch Pride: LGBTQ Bluegrass and Roots Music

Better This Way by Doug Strahm

Old Town Road by Lil Nas X
Ride Me Cowboy by Paisley Fields

If She Ever Leaves Me by Highwomen

Ty Herndon: What Mattered Most (Alternative Version)

Ty Herndon: What Mattered Most (Original Version)

 

Country Queers Project

When Rae Garringer was growing up on a farm in southeastern West Virginia in the 1980s and 1990s, LGBTQ people (both real or fictional) were nowhere to be found. “I grew up without TV, and it was mostly pre-internet, so I just didn’t know any queer people,” Garringer, 35. “I never met queer people my age, and I wasn’t seeing queer representation in the place that I existed; I just think I didn’t even realize that it was kind of an option.”

 



It wasn’t until Garringer, who uses nonbinary they/them pronouns, moved away to Massachusetts for college in 2003 that they met other LGBTQ people and embraced their sexual orientation and gender identity. After living away for several years, first at university and then in liberal Austin, Texas, Garringer questioned whether they could live openly and find a queer community of friends back home. Then in 2011, after eight years away, Garringer headed back to the farm for a job opportunity and to be closer to family.

 

Garringer, who now lives in neighboring Kentucky, said their move back to West Virginia was “healing” and filled with “joy.” But while queerness was not as hidden as it had been, it was still far from easily visible. “I was just really frustrated that it was so hard to find rural queer stories and histories, and it was also very hard to find each other in small-town spaces,” Garringer said.

So in 2013, feeling a need to find a sense of community, Garringer had an idea. They carried a tape recorder and set out to document the diverse experiences of LGBTQ individuals living in rural towns across the United States. Those interviews turned into Country Queers, a multimedia, oral-history project. The stories collected by Garringer over the years have been shared on the Country Queers website and Instagram page, and starting June 30, the new Country Queers podcast will debut on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.



 

For the past seven years, Garringer has interviewed 65 people from 15 states (from Arizona to Vermont )and has collaborated with queer organizations including the Two Spirit National Cultural Exchange, the Kansas Queer Youth Network and the International Gay Rodeo Association. With the help of a Kickstarter campaign, Garringer was able to buy a camera and take a long road trip to six states in the summer of 2014, driving a total of 7,000 miles to interview 30 people in 30 days. In a piece Garringer wrote for Scalawag, a Southern storytelling website, they said their aim is to share stories that portray “the full contradictory glory that is human life. I believe in the power of those of us living an experience daily sharing stories of the messy complicated joy, pain, monotony and fabulosity of rural and small town queer life."

Early on in the project, it was clear to Garringer that rural queer experiences are not monolithic, which is why Country Queers aims to document rural, queer people of different races, ages, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds and occupations.

[Source: Gabriela Martinez, NBC News, June 2020]

 

Country Queers: Podcast

Country Queers: Joy and Pain of Rural LGBTQ Life

Gay Rodeo: Hall of Fame

Growing Up Gay in Appalachia

LGBTQ Pride in Rural Missouri

International Gay Rodeo Association: John King Interview

Conversation with Gay Fly Fisherman

Hometown: Country Song by Brandon Stansell

GLAAD Stories: LGBTQ Life in the South

Queer in Rural America

Being Gay in Tennessee Wasn't Always Easy

LGBTQ People: Fundamental Part of the Fabric of Rural Communities

Growing Up Gay in a Small Conservative Texas Town

Queering the Redneck Riviera

Advocate: What is a Cottagecore Lesbian?

Josh Burford: Chronicler of Southern LGBTQ History

Clearly Gay in Small Town Alabama

TED Talk: The LGBTQ Community Could Save Small Towns

 

 

MAP Report: LGBTQ People in Rural America

Wild West: Much Gayer Than You Think

Lesbian Farmers: Redefining Rural America

Being Queer in the Country

PFLAG: Experiences of LGBTQ Students in Small Rural Towns

LGBTQ Nation: Lesbian and Trans Hillbillies Taking Over Rural America

Matt and Blue: Southern Boys

Black and Gay in Birmingham

Farming is Tough: Being LGBTQ Makes it Tougher

Leslie Jordan: Southern Gay

Point of Pride: How to Be Queer in a Small Town

Gay Farmer Breaking Down LGBTQ Stereotypes

Todd and Tyler: Isolating in the Woods

Finding LGBTQ Community in the Rural South

Son of a Preacher Man: Country Song by Tom Goss

Huff Post: Lesbian Farmers: Growing Rural America

Living in the South as a Gay Person

Advocate: Champions of Pride from the South

LGBTQ Institute: Southern Survey

Country Teens

Small  Town in South Dakota: Champion for Its LGBTQ Neighbors

In the Face of Discrimination: LGBTQ Farmers are Hopeful

Gay Rodeo History

 

Farming While Gay

 

"I grew up on the family farm, but there’s no place for me on the farm. The future’s not there for a gay farmer."

-Ryan Reed, Now Working as Gay Rodeo Cowboy

"I never thought that I would get the opportunity to combine my personal life and farming. I thought to myself, well you can’t be gay if you’re a farmer. The two did not go together. I initially thought that I had to hide my sexuality to be a farmer and then I thought that I had to hide being a farmer to be gay. However, through awareness, inclusion and shifting attitudes, I am now living the normal life. Normal is living with the person you love and doing the things you’re passionate about. Life is too short not to."
-Ben Lewis, Gay Farmer

"One of my customers did not renew my contract after two years because of who I am."

-Ari Rosenberg, Lesbian, Now Working as Urban Farmer in Philadelphia

"Farming in general is rural. And in a rural environment, LGBTQ does not fly."

-Nathan Looney, Trans, Now Working as Urban Farmer in Los Angeles

 

 

Although being an urban farmer, especially in an area that is much more welcoming of those in the LGBTQ community, feels like a lighter lift, it still comes with challenges, says Nate Looney, a transgender farmer in Los Angeles. “I live in a bit of a bubble because of where I live, but I’m also aware that I present as a cis, straight black man,” he says. “Even living here, I never talked about being transgender when I started farming, as a measure of self preservation, given the predominantly conservative nature of agriculture.”

He adds that since he’s also a military veteran, that was one more factor allowing him to “fly under the radar,” but at a 2018 Farmer Veterans Coalition talk, he officially outed himself, as a way to bring more awareness to that fact that, yes, there are transgender farmers. “It’s definitely easier to not call attention to yourself as an LGBTQ farmer, but I came to the point where I felt like people in the agricultural community need to understand that we’re here, and that we’re just as passionate about farming as any other farmers,” he said.

There is still, obviously, a long way to go. Rural LGBTQ people are less likely to have explicit nondiscrimination protections, more likely to live where there are religious exemption laws allowing service providers to discriminate, and tend to have fewer alternatives when facing discrimination. And, as Looney shares, even urban farmers can feel challenged by the dominant conservatism of the agriculture industry.

But there are some signs of hope. For example, Looney says, at a recent farming conference, the biggest caucus group was the LGBTQ table, and that gave him hope. Also, he points out that some large agricultural companies, like Bayer, either have LGBTQ groups already or have been talking about starting them.

 

 

NBC News Report: Gay in Rural America

LGBTQ Community is Transforming the South

GLAAD Stories: LGBTQ Life in the South

All American Boy: Country Song by Steve Grand

LGBTQ Nation: Rural Pride Events

MAP Report: LGBTQ People in Rural America

Pride Source: Rural Americans Are LGBTQ Too

Being LGBTQ in the Deep South

Country Queers: Joy and Pain of Rural LGBTQ Life

Leslie Jordan: Southern Gay

Matt and Blue: Gay Family Living in a Small Town

Being LGBTQ in Rural Spaces

Small Town Gay Pride Parade

Better This Way: Country Song by Doug Strahm

Advocate: What is a Cottagecore Lesbian?

Wild West: Much Gayer Than You Think

Redneck Lesbo by Jennifer Corday

Being Queer in the Country

Small Town in South Dakota: Champion for Its LGBTQ Neighbors

Queering the Redneck Riviera

Pride Source: Real Gay Cowboys

Dancing in the Living Room: Country Song by Cameron Hawthorn

 

 

LGBTQ Folks in Rural Settings

 

"As time went on, my sexuality became known across the school. No one ever outwardly gave me a problem aside from whispers and stares in the hallway and cafeteria. I learned that the small minds in my town were generally accepted as the status quo."

-Alex Yates, Trans Teacher
 

"Most queer people I know from my small town in Idaho have left by now. At a certain point, when you’re walking down the street and hear the daily, casual homophobia dribbling out of the mouths of camo-decked hicks spitting chew onto the sidewalk, you say enough. You don’t say it to them, because they’ll hit you or shoot you. But you become convinced that there is no place for you, that there will never be a place for you there, and you leave."
-K., Queer Librarian from Idaho

 

Though urban areas are often considered huge draws for those in the LGBTQ community (a 2015 Gallup poll found that San Francisco, Portland and Austin all ranked highest in the country for the largest LGBTQ population), little is written about those LGBTQ people who choose to call rural communities home.

 

However, a recent study finds that of the 62 million Americans who live in rural areas, between 2.9 and 3.8 or 15 to 20 percent of that number identify as LGBTQ and call rural America home. “General societal stereotypes and pop culture portrayals of LGBTQ people suggest that LGBTQ people live solely in urban settings, while stereotypes and portrayals of rural communities rarely, if ever, include LGBTQ people — except as targets of anti-LGBTQ violence, or as people yearning to leave their rural home to migrate to ‘more accepting’ urban areas,” says the study.

 

 

The study’s authors go on to say that those stereotypes falsely create “singular understandings” of how and where one can “be” LGBTQ in the US, unfairly excluding those who do not adhere to the urban “expectations” of the LGBTQ community. “In reality, not only do LGBTQ people live in rural America, but many of them want to and enjoy living in rural America,” the study says.


The study makes clear at the outset that to find a singular example of the “LGBTQ experience” would be impossible, but it does show that those members of the community who live in rural America and responded to inquiries by the authors described their communities similarly: “built around family and close-knit community; centered around strong social institutions such as churches, schools and local businesses; deeply connected to place and the environment; and based in a sense of efficacy and self-reliance to make change in their own communities.”
 

In rural settings, there is increased visibility for members of the LGBTQ community. The study found that lower population calls more attention to anyone “different,” and that being open about one part of their identity puts people in the LGBTQ community at risk of having that information spread among people more quickly than in urban areas. Due to the interconnectedness of rural life, both positive and negative impressions about a person may spread throughout the community more quickly.

 

 
 

“For example, if a person is excluded from their faith community for being gay, they may have a difficult time at work or finding a job, because their church members may also be their coworkers or potential employers,” the study said. “This effect may also work in a positive way: if a rural church community or employer takes a supportive stand for local LGBTQ residents, that support can also ripple outward to other areas of life.”

Rural LGBTQ folks are vulnerable to discrimination. On average, the report states that public opinion tends to be less favorable regarding LGBTQ issues, “but it is far more diverse than might be assumed.” Still, rural areas are less likely to have non-discrimination policies for the LGBTQ community living there, fewer LGBTQ elected politicians and less of a sociopolitical infrastructure available to advance an understanding of the community. The study pinpointed three ways in which these factors can come together to expose LGBTQ people to more discrimination.

 

[Source: Eve Kucharski, Michigan News, May 2019]

 

Being LGBTQ in the Deep South

Country Queers: Oral Histories

Finding the LGBTQ Community in the Rural South

LGBTQ Nation: Lesbian and Trans Hillbillies Taking Over Rural America

Queering the Redneck Riviera

Leslie Jordan: Southern Gay

Gay Farmers: Bilkurra Homestead

Advocate: Champions of Pride from the South

Growing Up Gay in Small Town America

Time: Country Song by Steve Grand

MAP Report: LGBTQ People in Rural America

International Gay Rodeo Association

Growing Up Gay in Appalachia

 

 

 

LGBTQ People: Fundamental Part of the Fabric of Rural Communities

Clearly Gay in Small Town Alabama

Being Gay in Tennessee Wasn't Always Easy

Being LGBTQ in Rural Spaces

Queer in Rural America

Fabulous Beekman Boys: Gay Green Acres

Living in the South as a Gay Person

Gay Farmer Breaking Down LGBTQ Stereotypes

Huff Post: Lesbian Farmers: Growing Rural America

Lesbian Farmers: Redefining Rural America

Slow Down: Country Song by Brandon Stansell and Ty Herndon

Interview: Married Mountain Men of West Virginia

Growing Up Gay in the Christian South

LGBTQ Pride Festivals in Rural Canada

Growing Up Gay in the Country

 

Gay Country Boys

 

According to Urban Dictionary, a country boy is a guy born and raised in the country, usually the American South. A true country boy has rather short hair, and no piercings. They dress in nice, clean-looking clothes, and only wear ripped jeans to work in. The definition goes on to describe country boys as strong, hard-working, and very masculine. Chances are, he drives a truck. In a relationship, a country boy is usually an old-fashioned gentleman.

But can they be gay? Well, it turns out, there are quite a few gay country boys living our in rural America. And here are some shout-outs from those gay country boys:

 



--Gay redneck farm boy here. Born and raised in the middle of nowhere. So, yup, we exist.

--Gay country boy checking in from Iowa. Grew up on a hog farm, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, mudding. I’ll always be a country boy at heart.

--I'm queer and I spent the first 18 years of my life living and working on a family ranch in east Texas. Got my degree in Agricultural Science, and I’m employed in the livestock industry. I’ve just contentedly resigned myself to the fact that it’s my lot in life to work with cattle.

--I'm a gay guy living in Oklahoma, and three quarters of the Grindr profiles here are for guys with pickup trucks looking for someone to go hunting, fishing, and mudding with.

--I always think gay country boys are hot, like in Brokeback Mountain, right? That’s very country.

--My gay boyfriend is a country boy. He grew up in the bible belt of Alabama.

--I’d love to meet some gay country boys. I am exhausted by these uppity city gays I’ve been dealing with. I am assuming that gay country boy have more productive, meaningful things to do besides throwing shade and spilling tea.

 

[Source: Graham Gremore, October 2016]

 

 

Gay Rodeo: Hall of Fame

LGBTQ Pride in Rural Missouri

International Gay Rodeo Association: John King Interview

GLAAD Stories: LGBTQ Life in the South

Black and Gay in Birmingham

Hometown: Country Song by Brandon Stansell

Advocate: What is a Cottagecore Lesbian?

Point of Pride: How to Be Queer in a Small Town

Finding LGBTQ Community in the Rural South

Growing Up Gay in Appalachia

Wild West: Much Gayer Than You Think

Lesbian Farmers: Redefining Rural America

Being Queer in the Country

LGBTQ Nation: Lesbian and Trans Hillbillies Taking Over Rural America

Huff Post: Lesbian Farmers: Growing Rural America

Queering the Redneck Riviera

Leslie Jordan: Southern Gay

Son of a Preacher Man: Country Song by Tom Goss

LGBTQ Institute: Southern Survey

Small  Town in South Dakota: Champion for Its LGBTQ Neighbors

Gay Rodeo History

 

LGBTQ Institute: Southern Survey

 

What do LGBTQ people in the south say life is really like for them? The LGBTQ Institute’s inaugural Southern Survey gives an insight into the lives of people living in places where government policies are often hostile toward them.

A huge proportion of the country’s LGBTQ adults live in the South. So do lots and lots of hate groups. That sad irony isn’t lost on Ryan Roemerman, the executive director of the LGBTQ Institute at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. “We have some of the most LGBTQ populated areas, yet we’re under attack most often,” he says. As Roemerman sees it, such attacks happen two ways: through discriminatory anti–LGBTQ state legislation preventing marriage and workplace equality, and also through physical intimidation and assault.

 

 

Part of the issue is that there’s been little research about who is being affected, how, and the ways they’d like people, companies, and legislators to better support them. But, recently the LGBTQ Institute released its inaugural Southern Survey of more than 6,500 residents across 14 states. The data was collected in partnership with researchers at Georgia State University, who coordinated with 146 nonprofits throughout the region. “Our mission is to connect academics and advocates to advance LGBTQ equity through research and education focused on the American South,” Roemerman says. The effort works a lot like a highly detailed census for gay Southern life. It will inform, and hopefully inspire, more funding for three main areas of concern: education and employment, public health and wellness, and criminal justice and safety.

As the report notes, there’s been at least one large generational shift: Younger respondents appear more self-aware and open about their sexual orientation and gender identity at an earlier age than older folks have been in the past. At the same time, discrimination remains rampant: More than 25% of all respondents report having been the target of jokes and slurs within the last years. Other forms of bigotry include being rejected by a friend or family member (17%), feeling unwelcome at a place of worship (14%), and receiving poor service at a restaurant or other kind of business because of their sexual orientation (13%). In many cases, those rates are nearly twice as high among transgender people.

 



Another troubling trend is the role that sexuality and race continue to play in many communities. For instance, 77% of black lesbian, gay, or bisexual respondents report having been threatened or physically attacked at some point in their life, the report notes. “There’s a disproportion amount of folks who are being harassed because of their gender identity and also the interplay between your race and ethnicity as well as your gender identity,” adds Roemerman. Equally disturbing: 33% of transgender people report some discrimination when trying to access health care, with nearly half of those just deciding to avoid treatment.

According to the survey, LGBTQ people living in the south overwhelmingly want to see companies stay in their states and continue fighting for rights and equity while providing jobs, instead of avoiding the area or relocating. “I mentioned earlier, we are under attack most often,” he adds. “We are on the receiving end of a lot of these, these anti–LGBTQ pieces of legislation. We definitely want to make sure that the companies that are in the South are willing to stay and support us, not flee and leave. For the folks who are creating these kinds of campaigns, you wonder whether or not they really talked to people in the South.”

Either way, Southern companies can’t really afford not to take a stand anymore: More than 70% or respondents are willing to support companies with values that support the LGBTQ community, while about 75% will boycott those opposed.

[Source: Ben Paynter, Senior Writer, Fast Company, Wired, Bloomberg Businessweek, New York Times]

 

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