Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home

Coming this December – a Must Read!

Read the intimate personal essays of 21 native or adopted South Carolinians who contributed significantly to the organizing of the queer community in our state from the AIDS crisis in 1984 to marriage equality in 2014.

Jim Blanton, Candace Chellew-Hodge, Matt Chisling, Michael Haigler, Harriet Hancock, Deborah Hawkins, Dick Hubbard, Linda Ketner, Ed Madden and Bert Easter, Alvin McEwen, Sheila Morris, Pat Patterson, Jim and Warren Redman-Gress, Nekki Shutt, Tony Snell, Carole Stoneking (deceased), Tom Summers, Matt Tischler and Teresa Williams answer the questions surrounding the reasons for their activism in a conservative state in the South during a tumultuous time in American politics when many people assumed the only activists in the queer community lived in San Francisco or New York City. These folks chose to remain committed to home instead of fleeing South Carolina. Why?

Although the book isn’t scheduled for release by the USC Press until December, I couldn’t let the Pride month of June (or the Obergefell Supreme Court decision two-year anniversary this week) go by without sharing my excitement over this book which has been in the making for the past 4 years. Harriet Hancock was my original creative impulse for undertaking the project and has been with me every step of the way toward the ultimate goal of collecting and sharing these stories.

I am grateful to all contributors for their unwavering willingness to participate, to Harlan Greene for a wonderful foreword and to the USC Press for their commitment to “home” authors.

Happy Pride!



About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
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14 Responses to Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home

  1. Congrats! Guess there may be a good party coming up 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. rockyden says:

    i just can’t wait!!!! From your Texas delegation, a big thank you. December come on….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wayside Artist says:

    Sheila, I know this has been your baby all these years. Congratulations! You’ve produced a personal and invaluable look at Queer history in South Carolina, but also in this country as a whole. Your stories will resonate with many throughout the States.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ann, thank you so very much – you understand what it is to want something you have to say be heard, whether in words or art.
      I was so happy for your nephew and your family. I love seeing you with your family members – just knowing they are close…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wayside Artist says:

        Paul was born the day after my 17th birthday. He is the reason I use the name Nanine. I didn’t want to be called Aunt Ann, so I adopted my grandma’s name. He and I are very close. He’s grown into such a fine man, husband and father. He really will be the sort of officer we all hope for – brave, but compassionate; proactive, but thoughtful. Thank you, my friend.

        Liked by 1 person

      • What a great story about your nephew and your name!! Makes me feel good today…truly.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations! I’m so happy for you. I just love the idea of people staying where they are and making that place better. Trust me, Louisiana and New Orleans have their “challenges.” Sometimes, I think it would be so much easier to move to a place where everyone thinks the way I do, where all people have the rights and services I think they deserve. But then I realize that, while not as easy, it’s more important to stay put and bring what I so admire in other places to the people who are my neighbors and to the place that is my home. And I’m so thrilled to have a friend like you who has done and continues to do just that.
    Harper Lee’s Mommy (although I’m sure Harper Lee feels the same way 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am always grateful for your kind words!
      You are exactly right – sometimes it’s important to stay where you are and try to raise the consciousness of your neighbors and friends.
      Not everyone has that ambition, but I know the mommy of Miss Harper Lee does!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. candidkay says:

    Congrats on a great accomplishment! So many stories that need to be told . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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