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Becoming and Belonging: Queer Pleasure and Resilience in the Rural US South

Type: Panel
Theme: Expanding the Community of Geography
Sponsor Groups:
Organizers: KD Brown

Call for Submissions

We are not presently looking for participants, however, anyone not finding a home can reach out. We want to create a collective of Queer Southern Geographers and the geographic adjacent. We are especially interested in rural geographies, pleasure activism, and trans liberation within the United State South. Please note that our definition of "The South" is also inclusive of narratives typified by diaspora and plantation economies, rather than membership within the Confederacy (example: Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Detroit, Michigan)


This panel will focus on how trans and queer people in the rural South construct home and belonging. Our discussants are queer and trans southerners, including a root working poet, an Appalachian intimacy practitioner, a trans social worker, and gender queer political ecologist. By centering on subaltern voices in contested places, we elevate the importance of Queer Southerners framing their own narrative versus being forever defined by dominate narratives that center on their death and despair. We argue through Queer Southern geographies, we create a kind of Deleuzian space in which supposed distinctions between subjects and objects, as well as other binary divisions, become indistinct and entangled. We posit that the lack of engagement in the imaginary and effective conditions of trans and queer belonging has constructed an Anglo-centric definition of home-making and prevented a holistic understanding of how belonging and desire should/has been constructed in the U.S. South. By problematizing misconceptions about queer homing desires within rural geographies, we can see how overemphasis on exodus from rural to urban is a prescriptive outcome of class rather than place making. Connecting with broader theme - home in geography - we will then visualize spatial realities of place, opening the door for how we relate to past and present, especially becoming queer in isolation. We will explore how rural digital geographies such as Grindr both mediate desire and provide tools for organizing and kinship. Subthemes will also include being queer in the wake of plantation economies, finding dignity in bathroom exclusions, queer farming and root work, pleasure activism as liberation, access to resources and elders, collective interventions to domestic violence, and the brilliance of small-town Pride.


Type Details Minutes
Introduction KD Brown University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill 15
Discussant KD Brown University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill 15
Panelist KD Brown University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill 15
Discussant KD Brown University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill 15
Discussant KD Brown University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill 15

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