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Nikita Shepard

A Tennessee Trans Icon Comes Home: Remembering Aleshia Brevard

A photo of trans icon Aleshia Brevard.

In her classic interdisciplinary manifesto Borderlands/La Frontera, Chicana lesbian writer Gloria Anzaldúa explores homophobia as "fear of going home." Especially for LGBTQ folks of color and those straddling different cultural worlds, she writes, "We're afraid of being abandoned by the mother, the culture, la Raza, for being unacceptable, faulty, damaged." For many trans folks who leave the South to transition or to find community, this fear of rejection by our communities of origin is all too real. Yet, before drag…

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Queer Southern Staples: Where Did All The LGBTQ Bookstores Go?

A photo of LGBTQ bookstores.

For a brief time beginning in the 1970s and stretching up to the 2000s, a new species of community institution sprinkled the southern landscape—the LGBTQ bookstore. Once prolific, these stores are now endangered. While LGBTQ visibility and community participation has expanded exponentially, economic changes have forced nearly all small bookstores to either close or shift their retail focus. Yet a few determined LGBTQ and feminist bookstores—from the funky Faubourg Marigny Art and Books in New Orleans to feminist stalwarts such…

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‘I Feel That I Have Arrived’: The Journey of a Southern Latina Trans Health Advocate

A photo of Latina trans health advocate Lea Córdova.

When you meet Lea Córdova, MA, MS, you don't know what is more astonishing: the action-packed life she has lived as a Latina trans health advocate, or the fact that this irrepressible dynamo is in fact 76 years old. Lea and I have seen each other at LGBTQ and activist events around North Carolina for many years, and I've come to admire her as one of my elders. I caught up with her on a sunny September afternoon, shortly after she'd…

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Like a Mimosa Blossom: Making My Peace With the Queer South

An illustration of mimosa blossoms in the queer South.

Well, that’s what I always told myself, at least. When I arrived in North Carolina from the Northeast as an effeminate, bookish eight year old, nothing seemed right. Southern twang and slang mystified me, while I struggled to adjust to new foods, schools, and manners. And the homophobic and gender-oppressive bullying I’d always encountered seemed, if anything, to intensify. I couldn’t wait to grow up and get out.…

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