“It’s rare to find a collection of essays so rich and compelling, its contributors sharing the journeys that frequently took them into regions unknown but eventually led them back home – to themselves, their loved ones, and their communities…” Robert H. Brinkmeyer, Jr., director, Institute for Southern Studies, University of South Carolina.
This quote is from the back cover of Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home, an anthology of the first-person stories of a few (21) organizers of the LGBTQ movement in South Carolina from the HIV-AIDS pandemic in the 1980s through marriage equality in 2014. I had the privilege of collecting, editing, and securing a publisher for their voices, a labor of love for me for four years from 2013 – 2017.
During the month of June we celebrate Pride month, and I encourage anyone who hasn’t had an opportunity to read a fascinating foreword by Harlan Greene nor the chance to meet these trailblazers (Jim Blanton, Candace Chellew, Matt Chisling, Michael Haigler, Harriet Hancock, Deborah Hawkins, Dick Hubbard, Linda Ketner, Ed Madden and Bert Easter, Alvin McEwen, Sheila Morris, Pat Patterson and Patti O’Furniture, Jim and Warren Redman-Gress, Nekki Shutt, Tony Snell-Rodriquez, Carole Stoneking, Tom Summers, Matt Tischler, and Teresa Williams) to go to Amazon or directly to the USC Press for a read that will make you proud.
The fact that five years have passed since Southern Perspectives was published in 2017 is inconceivable to me, yet I can’t ignore the calendar. 2022.
While our LGBTQ+ community has made impressive achievements toward equality during the past five years, I realize those steps forward are under assault again…still. May the passion of the trailblazers in this collection continue to inspire our vision for the future.