on April 12, 2016
I appreciated this read. Moving, accurate as far as I know, as a lesbian living in the upper South. It is validating to read about the struggles that others in my community have endured-it helps to know that I am not alone, and that someone is paying attention to this issue-that is huge.
on June 25, 2012
Out in the Country is like reading a thesis. It is written for professionals
who may deal with young adults. As an actual gay person who actually lives in a rural area, it sounded like a great read. Many fascinating events and pioneering pro gay educators were mentioned in the author's research. Then the author would draw her own conclusions, which are are lengthy and repetitive causing your eyes to glaze over.
I enjoyed detouring the therapist-speak to read words and deeds of actual gay folk out here in the trenches. Out in the Country is an important work, but aimed at professionals. Really Out in the Country would be wonderful if she published much more of the experiences of the youth she interviewed in their own words.
And the cover is great except no one in the country has a paved driveway!
on October 30, 2009
Often it feels like the national ethos is anti-rural. We urban dwellers distrust the farm, the country and the small town. It comes across in our films, television and new reports. We like rural as long as it is safe and sanitized: corn mazes and pumpkin patches and Christmas tree farms.
We also assume that anyone gay will leave the country immediately. No self respecting gay man or woman could stay in a rural place where they are hated and there is no support. Homosexuality and queer gender identity have no place in the country.
Out in the Country is an ethnography and cultural exploration of gay youth in Appalachia and rural Kentucky. It flips normal expectations about being gay and being rural on its head. While still an academic work and a cogent exploration of the gay cultural anthropology which came before this one, the author, Mary Gray writes poetically about the struggle for equality and personal identity in the small towns of Kentucky.
I enjoyed reading about a local homemakers club which endeavored to present a forum for gay youth at the local public library and a gay drag show in the aisles of Wal-mart. One chapter in the book was devoted to how gay youth use the internet to connect and to understand coming out vis a vis their own personal identity.
Of course an anthropological look at rural gay youth is not going to come away with only cheerful or moral endings. Nothing in life has easy answers and no stories are necessarily ended happily or rightly. Gay people in the country do face challenges and battles to end discrimination, but they do everywhere. This book really helps to delve deeper into a place and a situation which is badly misunderstood and often stereotyped. In our age of culture wars and red states and blue states any narrative or study that helps us to think more fully about a place and a time is a welcome gift.
on June 25, 2011
As both a student of queer theory and as a queer male who lived in similar rural situations I found this book to be an enlightened changed from many of the scholarly work done on Queer youth which often seems to categorize them as victims,outsiders in their own movement and culture. This look into the culture provides both a positive representation of queer youth, as well as what it is like in coming to terms within one's own identity and sexuality and only being able to base this off of what is presented through media and through the internet, not having any physical basis or views to look towards.