Straight Up | Issue 26

Straight Up | Issue 26

Country Fag

In this one short sentence, I will possibly extinguish what’s left of my queer cool cred: I’m a country fag, and I like it.

I am not hard country. I’m more the soft, lifestyle block, grow-heirloom-roses kind. I like the smell of silage, flower shows, and shingle roads. I like to have space to move, breathe, and think. It’s not that I dislike cities; I just don’t love them.

This admission can be met with incredulity in some queer* scenes - where being rural (or worse, choosing it, liking it, and not wanting to leave) is profoundly counter-cultural. Often it seems that in NZ, like elsewhere, the city is constructed as the “natural” environment for modern queer life. The city is imagined as a place of community, ripe with non-conformity and sexy queer potential.

Whereas the rural is just butt-fuck nowhere. Or supposedly no butt-fuck at all.

This is what someone waaaay smarter than me has called the metro-normativity of queer/trans scenes – a collective investment in the idea that The City is a better, queerer and generally more fabulous place, and that rural life is backwards and avoidable.

But newsflash, honey! Rural living has awesome queer possibilities too. Living rurally is not necessarily a hotbed for hostility. And we country queers are not all self-hating, backward victims of fashion (and geography) who long to escape to some urban centre for shopping, loving, and community.

In my experience, queer rural life can be awesome. Lots of my queer/trans community are accessible online, and I don’t feel disconnected. Country life can also be important to us. I have made the decision not to live in the city because living close to my family is something I prioritise right now. Country folks can also be hot as - I have an undeniable and persistent desire to have all kinds of sex with the country-butch salesman who works at CRT. I am sure it’s got something to do with the moleskins, blue check shirts, and steel caps.

I appreciate that for many queer and trans folks leaving rural and provincial spaces is a really good decision. When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to leave them myself. But now that I am back, I guess I see it as less black and white. There are many paths to a loving, luscious, meaningful queer/trans life, and country life may be the path some of us take.

This article first appeared in Issue 26, 2012.
Posted 5:01pm Sunday 30th September 2012 by La Dida.