Queering the Southern States; A Photo Project
“Queering the Southern States” examines the everyday reality of those who are living as queer in the American Deep South. By photographing members of the LGBT community in the private spaces of their homes—bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms—I explore the intimacy and vulnerability of place. In our current political climate, where many Southern states are passing “Religious Freedom” laws that would allow businesses to turn us away, doctors to refuse to treat us, we must gather our strength to face our conservative neighbors in the day-to-day world. Small Southern towns are often close-knit, full of kindness, but also teeming with gossip and judgement. This project attempts to capture the humanity of those who elected officials and fundamentalist religious adherents would seek to dehumanize.
As a lesbian from a small conservative Southern town, I reveal my own story through these photographs. In doing so, I investigate the discomfort that arises when confronted with notions of place, in particular, rural areas where communities are small and everybody knows everybody. I want to understand how people relate within spaces that are familiar, that are “home,” while also being surrounded by a place that can often be hostile and unwelcoming. In this contradiction I seek to capture both the vulnerability and intimacy of being queer in the Deep South, and to remind the beautiful people who sit in front of my camera that they deserve dignity and respect.