There Ain't No Queers Here: Locating Queer and Trans* Spaces in Appalachia

There Ain’t No Queers Here: Locating Queer and Trans* Spaces in Appalachia

By Stacy Grover

Stereotypes about Appalachia abound through reductive representations of the ‘hillbilly,’ ‘redneck,’ and ‘white trash’ icons. Everyday life in Appalachia is cast from the outside as rude, violent, dirty, generally backwards and in need of rescue. Films, television shows, and bestselling books render images of Appalachia as religiously fundamentalist, naive and violent. These images of Appalachian ignorance and violence in popular culture have had problematic implications for rural queer/trans* folk. Mainstream LGBTQIA culture has often used these images to preclude the possibility of rural queer/trans* livelihood, rendering the rural as wholly homophobic, transphobic and unlivable. Following Mary Gray, Colin Johnson, and Scott Herring this paper will challenge these negative images or rural life. Using photography and auto-ethnography, this paper will reveal rural queer/trans* life in Appalachia, to show not only its presence but also its varying forms of visibility and relations.

Keywords: Appalachian studies, queer studies, transgender studies, auto-ethnography, photography.

Works Cited:

Gray, Mary. 2009. Out in the County: Youth, Media, and Queer Visibility in Rural America. NYU Press.

Gray, Mary. 2016. Queering The Countryside: New Frontiers in Rural Queer Studies. NYU Press.

Colin Johnson. 2013. Just Queer Folks: Gender and Sexuality in Rural America. Temple University Press.

Scott Herring. 2010. Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism. NYU Press.