In this episode of the It’s Going Down podcast, we reached out to a fellow media project that has been expanding and growing in recent times, Queer Appalachia, and for over an hour we were lucky enough to talk with Gina Mamone. QA runs a constantly updated Instagram account which has almost 60K followers, and features everything from memes, to photos from resistance movements across Appalachia and the South, to music, and beautiful photos of nature, people, and beyond. The group also has produced a book, Electric Dirt Vol 1: A Celebration of Queer Voices and Identities from Appalachia and the South, and maintains an extensive website.
Inspired by both the material conditions of growing up poor in rural Appalachia and the quest to find and create a queer and trans community, Queer Appalachia always maintains a firm foot in both worlds. At the same time, they are quick to point out the realities of life in the region, and how it shapes the day to day experiences of everyday people there. On their website they point to the hold that fossil fuel and extractive companies have on the region, the influence of reactionary and far-Right churches, as well as crippling multi-generational poverty, and more recently, the burgeoning opioid epidemic.
In our discussion with Gina, we talk about how the project came into existence, tracing its roots from Riot Grrl and fanzines to the present day, and map out the entrenched network of the various systems of domination in the Appalachian area, while also talking about what makes the region itself special and different. At a time when Nativism and white nationalism is on the rise, Queer Appalachia embraces a collective celebration of land, people, and history that serves no State, racial caste, or patriarch.
Much of our time talking is spent discussing the impact that the opioid crisis had had on the queer and trans community, as well as the region as a whole, and how QA is currently organizing in an attempt to launch programs to intervene in the crisis. The group has big plans for the future, and everyday its network is only growing larger.
I got to hang out with the cool folks @ @speakovermtns & record an episode of their podcast. We talk #queerappalachia, #restorativejustice & #harmreduction @ ground zero of the #opioidepidemic and what it’s like to spend my day talking to 60K queers that call home below the #masondixon everyday. They have the best dogs y’all ❤️ “Part 1 of our episode with @queerappalachia is available now! Link in bio!” Second part out next Wednesday. #queersouth #electricdirt