Three Tennessee towns now recognize same-sex couples. In a landmark decision for the so-called "buckle" of the Bible Belt, Chattanooga joined Knoxville and Collegedale with a city council vote recognizing same-sex spouses of city employees for benefits.
In many ways, the LGBTQ community in the South is complicit in this state of affairs. When I look at the LGBTQ people on my own campus, I witness the "don't tell" aspect. They do not want to be open; they do not want to hold hands in Walmart, kiss at the movies, or wear pride shirts to class.
We wanted to talk about it. What follows comes from a Gchat conversation between me (raised by two moms in the Northeast) and Todd Dakotah Briscoe, who's gay and from a "red state" and kind enough to share his story.
I'm currently on a seven-week road trip through the American South to document queer culture through photography and video. I'm visiting large cities as well as smaller towns, where I'll examine how queer identities develop both individually and collectively in rural areas.
An op-ed column in yesterday's New York Times, "We're Here, We're Queer, Y'all" by Karen L. Cox, is supposed to be uplifting, perhaps, or inclusive, or something of the sort, but as a Southerner by birth, I found it ineffably sad.