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Appalachia in Regional ContextPlace Matters$
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Dwight B. Billings and Ann E. Kingsolver

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813175324

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813175324.001.0001

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“There Are No Gay People Here”

“There Are No Gay People Here”

Expanding the Boundaries of Queer Youth Visibility in the Rural United States

(p.111) 5. “There Are No Gay People Here”
Appalachia in Regional Context

Mary L. Gray

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter explores the intersections between place and identity. The quote in the title is from the author’s ethnographic fieldwork in Kentucky, during which a politician indicated that no one identified as queer in his district because he represented a rural region of the state. This led the author to consider further the logic through which queer identity is associated with urban identity, and what that means for rural queer youth. She offers the concept of “boundary publics” to discuss the ways in which ephemeral experiences of belonging are created within more validated and recognized public spheres. She gives examples of how rural Kentucky queer young people, for example, create spaces for belonging within shared social networks and available public spaces, such as parks, churches, and Walmart.

Keywords:   queer, youth, belonging, boundary public, rural Kentucky, public sphere

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