Queer Country Music
In the summer of 2020 I became enamored with a growing music phenomenon with deep roots: queer country music. Figures such as Orville Peck and Lil Nas X are likely the most well known of the niche subgenre, but queer county is also a movement represented by the work of Karen Pittlement and the organization of Gay Ole Opry and Queer Country Monthly, the 2014 re-release of Lavender Country's 1973 self-titled album, and the launch of the online magazine Country Queer, along with the efforts of many other individuals and projects. I undertook a deep dive into the history of queer country music. Drawing from the work of Nadine Hubbs, Pamela Fox, Diane Pecknold, and Kristine McCusker who have brought queer and feminist readings to country music studies, I examined the history of queer country and the contemporary movement through the lense of country music studies, particularly the construction of "authenticity."
In spring 2021, I shared my work at the Popular Culture Association annual conference in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies subject area. For the virtual conference, I created a simple website, Lavender Cowfolk, to share my work, rather than a traditional conference paper. In December 2021, my two-part radio special Queer Country Music, which originally aired on WMPG-FM in September 2020, was awarded first place in the Enterprise category by the Maine Association of Broadcasters News & Creative Awards.