article placeholder

‘As We Are’ essay collection hopes to explore Deep South’s LGBT stories

Brit Blalock aims to tell southern stories

Brit Blalock, an Alabama poet, hopes to fund the publishing of a collection of essays written by LGBT Southerners and donate copies of the collection to libraries across the Southeast. “As We Are” is a planned collection of 15 to 20 essays written by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender authors who grew up in the so-called “Bible Belt” of the Deep South.

“I was writing a poetry collection and my poems were mostly about the overlap of growing up gay and being a child of the South,” Blalock, who identifies as queer, said by phone. “I really wanted to see what it was like for other people. I know there's a wide variety of experience.”

Blalock began looking for works but was unable to find a similar collection. An idea took shape and Blalock began accepting submissions from authors across the region over the summer.

article placeholder

‘In the Life’ paved way for generation of black gay men

I first learned that I had the power to become, to define myself beyond the circumstance of my birth, through the cultural pride my parents instilled in me and my brother. Our home was enriched with artifacts of black genius. There were books and albums of art titans such as Lorraine Hansberry, James Baldwin, the Temptations, Coltrane and Labelle. There was the framed “Free Angela Davis” portrait posted so high her regal afro nearly touched our living room ceiling.

Through the acknowledgment of record, this little black boy was shown his past and thus felt assured a place in the world. “When I speak of home, I mean not only the familial constellation from which I grew, but the entire black community: the black press, the black church, black academicians, the black literati, and the black left.”