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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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Reclaiming Brujería Through Queerness

A photo of a queer brujería spell on Donald Trump.

Brujería often possesses a negative reputation and is feared as a manifestation of evil. But for many young Latinx millennials—and more specifically queer Latinx millennials—it is an outlet for empowerment and freedom. Spectrum South recently caught up with Alex Aguilar, a self-identified queer bruja from the Rio Grande Valley who is now based in Austin.…

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Why I Won’t Use Latinx

An illustration of Latinx.

In the past few years, “Latinx” has stormed to prominence—first in online communities, then in mainstream media platforms as well as academic discourse. “Latinx” seeks to end the gendered designations in the Spanish language, replacing “Latino” and “Latina” with a term that includes both genders, as well as gender nonconforming and non-binary people.…

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Transouthern Youth: Meet Landon Richie

A photo of Houston transgender youth Landon Richie.

To his 26,000 Instagram followers, Houstonian Landon Richie embodies confidence—his posts are eloquent and encouraging, his face smiling and strong. In person, Richie is just as self-aware. He chats effortlessly about his activism, identity, and passions. It’s not until his mom, Erika, mentions an upcoming school band practice that I’m reminded the savvy individual sitting across from me is only 14 years old.…

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Speaking Out: Intersex Texan Promotes Protective Policy

A photo of intersex advocates Koomah and Mo Cortez.

When Mo Cortez was five years old, he woke up in a hospital bed, peeled back the sheets, and discovered a large red “X” on his groin. Cortez was born intersex—with ambiguous genitalia—and surgery was an attempt to “normalize” him. Instead, it made it him feel dehumanized, he says, “like a Frankenstein.” But despite his many challenges since then, Cortez says he has found truth in his identity, and has used his own experiences as motivation to tirelessly advocate for…

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Exploring Identity: How Spectrum South Inspired College Students to Embrace Their Truths

Illustration of diverse people exploring identity.

Shortly after my summer class began, Spectrum South launched with its series of narrative pieces in which the publication’s core group of writers explored their own queer and southern identities. While each piece was unique to the writer, all of them spoke to the intersections of identity and journeys of queer self-discovery. This inspired me to use these pieces—written by queer millennials—to get my students thinking about their own identities (queer and not) on a deeper level. Each student was…

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Queer Online Activism: Pansexual YouTuber Talks Identity in the Digital Age

A photo of pansexual writer and YouTuber Sydney Turner promotes queer online activism.

In the digital age, a great deal of queer identity and community is built on the Internet. From memes on Tumblr to watching the HRT journeys of trans YouTubers, the online world presents a whole new way to express queerness. Spectrum South recently caught up with Sydney Turner—writer, comedian, and YouTuber—to discuss the possibilities and repercussions of being queer online.…

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Breaking The Norm: Defying Tradition to Find Truth

Breaking the Norm: Defying Tradition to Find Truth. A photo of Kelsey Gledhill, co-founder of Spectrum South and a queer woman from Texas.

When you come from a conventional place dominated by conventional people, it can be hard to break the mold. It almost becomes second nature to want to graduate high school, get married (to a man), have children, vote Republican, and run to Wal-Mart. Tempting, I know. But I powered through, and when it came time for college, I happily went on my way.…

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