Kayla Lisenby

 

I hold a lot of identities, some where I am privileged, and some where I am marginalized, but the identities that are generally most salient for me are being a cis-privileged queer femme and being Southern/from the South. There is often a misconception that "the South", with all of their "backwards" ways of thinking, conservative political leanings, and religion-centered communities, is somehow devoid of Queer folks and would be the last place Queer folks would want to call home. I've called the Southeastern United States, "the South", home for my entire life. I've also been an out, proud queer person for in the South for seven years, and I have served as a professional supporting the LGBTQ community for going on five years. When I network with colleagues doing Queer work in other geographic regions, I often get a reaction of pity, or they are encouraged by what is perceived to be some kind of martyrdom - that I would take it upon myself to do work in a place where the work and place are viewed as antithetical to one another...however, that has never been my experience. While there are absolutely challenges, being a Queer Southerner is who I am.