Queers: Coming to a Rural Town Near You
There's a lot of myths about gay folks, many of these myths tell us more about straight culture than they do gay culture, however. This recent post from the Daily Yonder tries to explain the phenomenon of the gayest rural town in Minnesota, Pine City. In short, the re-ruralization of queer culture has a lot to do with acceptance:
"In 2005, Pine City became home to one of the first rural gay pride events in the country, East Central Minnesota Pride. Hundreds of people turned out for the occasion, which continued to be held on an annual basis despite organized protests by some “profamily” groups. (Never mind that nearly half of the same-sex couple households in Pine City and two-thirds of the same-sex couple households in Rock Creek are families, with children.)"
A related post that I shared before faces the myth of why gays move to the big city in the first place, dubbed "The Great Queer Migration Myth," by author J. Max Stein. She argues that there are three main blindspots in the romanticization of the big city as a place where gays can find community: classism, choice, and elitism. On the last point:
"It's snobby. It assumes small-town prejudice, when often small towns allow for people to know each other beyond the subcategory-of-a-subcategory identities so enamored by urbanity. Big city people are just as provincial, just about their own urban provinces."
The message is that there exist examples of queer folks and rural folks getting along, breaking barriers. As one of precious few queers in a rural town, I look forward to a time when rural places begin to grow again with residents that can bring greater depth to small communities.