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Books for changing the world
Country Queers
A Love Letter

Part photo book, part memoir, part oral history project, this volume paints a vivid portrait of queer and trans experiences in rural areas and small towns across the US.

In 2013, Rae Garringer embarked on the Country Queers oral history project with a borrowed audio recorder, a flip phone, and a paper atlas in a Subaru Forester with over 160,000 miles on it. Raised on a sheep farm in southeastern West Virginia, they were motivated by an intense frustration with the lack of rural queer stories and the isolation that comes with that absence. “Queers, in all our forms, have always existed,”
Garringer writes, “all across this continent since before it was colonized.”

 After years as a DIY, minimally funded, community-based oral history project, the work now takes a new form in
Country Queers: A Love Storya book of full-color photos and interviews with rural folks from Mississippi to New Mexico and beyond, with Garringer’s account as traveler and interviewer woven through the pages. In these intimate conversations, we see how queerness—shaped, as all things are, by race, class, gender, and more—moves in rural and small-town spaces, spotlighting how country queers make sense of their lives through reflections on land, home, community, and belonging. While media-driven myths suggest that big cities are the only places queer folks can find love and community, Country Queers resists that trope by centering rural queer and trans stories of the joys, challenges, monotony, and nuances of their lives, in their own words.