Gay in rural America: February 25, 1992
Long before they were generally referred to as “red states,” the rural parts of the country saw a burgeoning gay presence. “In spite of right-wing backlash, increasing gay bashings, and antigay “morality” crusades, a gay and lesbian consciousness is prospering in the very roots of American soil,” wrote Ellen Spiro and Michael Lane in an Advocate cover story 13 years ago. “Now more than ever, rural homosexuals are speaking out and making their identities known in their small-town communities.”
Similar to what we might hear today, some of those interviewed talked about providing a positive example as the best way to gain acceptance in their small towns. “My approach is to gain people’s confidence and become more a part of, not more separate from, mainstream America,” explained Debe Powell of Porter, Texas, who neither actively proclaimed her sexuality nor hid it from her neighbors.
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