On the Lived Theology Reading List: Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement

Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home, edited by Sheila R. MorrisCommitted to Home

In Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement, Sheila Morris has collected nineteen essays from South Carolinians who have taken public roles in the gay rights movement. The diverse voices include a drag queen from a family of prominent Spartanburg Democrats, a former Catholic priest and his tugboat dispatcher husband from Long Island, a Hispanic American who interned for Republican strategist Lee Atwater, and a straight attorney recognized as the “Mother of Pride” who became active in 1980, when she learned her son was gay.

The essays span thirty years, from activism during the HIV-AIDS pandemic to the realization of marriage equality in South Carolina, and all of them challenge the conventional view of the LGBTQ movement in the United States. Typically associated with the “Stonewall Rebellion” in New York City and the pride marches and anti-AIDS activism on both the east and west coasts, little attention has been payed to the Southern variants of the queer liberation movement, especially considering that queer political organization was a late-comer to the region. This book intends to challenge that perspective by giving a voice to Southerners to discuss hesitant coming-out acts, the creation of grassroots organizations, and anything in between.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Sheila Morris has edited a volume of essays that recover and expand on the southern contribution to the struggle for our people to find an identity in the South, where our adaptations to the culture landscape were many, varied, and sometimes dangerous. This is a vital book for anyone who wants to understand the shape of the gender movements of the last decades.”—Jim Grimsley, author of Dream Boy and How I Shed My Skin

“I’ve got a sign up on my wall, a quote from Lillian Smith that says The winner names the age and I know that is mostly true. But I know too that we can defy ignorance and prejudice and fear with our own matter of fact stories of how all of us dangerous provocative people account for our lives. Thirty years of history retold from the inside is in this anthology. The people who stood up and risked their homes, their families and their very lives to make the world safer and more just for all of us tell us how they did it, day by day, year by year. So put up another notice, one that defies denial as this wonderful anthology does. We can claim our history one story at a time, and the stories rename the age.”—Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard out of Carolina and Cavedweller

Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement is special. Really special. It’s rare to find a collection of personal essays so rich and compelling, its contributors sharing the journeys that frequently took them into regions unknown but eventually lead them back home—to themselves, their loved ones, and their communities. What a wonderful book! Read it and celebrate!”—Robert H. Brinkmeyer, Jr., Institute for Southern Studies, University of South Carolina

For more information on the publication, click here.

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