Feeling out of place: queer experiences of belonging in metro Atlanta


Social Work and Human Services

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Queer experience is often considered at odds with ‘the South;’ moreover, notions of Southern belonging are commonly formed through experiences with place and are riddled with contradictions. Utilizing qualitative data collected from twenty-three semi-structured interviews, this paper seeks to understand the ways lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) students, faculty, and staff at a large state college in Metro Atlanta understand their identity in place, and negotiate experiences of belonging within a rural, suburban, and urban Southern milieu. By engaging the qualitative interviews of LGBTQ + people as stories of place, this paper queers essentialist and one-dimensional understandings of ‘the South,’ Georgia, and Metro Atlanta, by attending to the ways gender identity/expression and sexuality are produced through and felt in place. These queer feelings provide the context to consider the everyday negotiations of belonging that take place and the ways LGBTQ + Southerners live, love, and resist in ‘the South.’.

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Gender, Place and Culture

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