By Lauren Tabak & Jaimee Harris
Ed.: Our first week running Lauren Tabak’s “Queer From Here” series, in which Tabak has photographed some of the faces of Country Queer, begins today with none other than Jaimee Harris. Be sure to read our interview with the photographer where she discusses the genesis for this series, which she refers to as “…an archive of modern queer identity that explores what it’s like to be queer here & now.”
For more #queerfromhere, click here.
Jaimee Harris, 32 • She/They • Nashville, TN
I’m pretty sure I don’t have a gayface.
I still wrestle with my idea of the queer community. I was very certain I was queer from a young age, but when I tried to find my place in what I thought was the queer community, I felt like I didn’t belong. That made me question if I was queer or not. If I didn’t belong to what I thought the queer community was, did that mean I wasn’t queer? I’d often throw up my hands and shout-ask, “Where are the lesbians who listen to Guy Clark?” I didn’t know I’d end up with the lesbian who opened for Guy Clark.
I’m a queer who was raised Baptist. I was very fortunate that my mother encouraged me not to take what anyone said from a pulpit as fact, but to nourish my faith in my own way. I believe that upbringing instilled values of service, personal responsibility, and forgiveness, in me. But I also latched on closely to the whole Jesus flipping tables in the temples thing.
As I’ve aged and have realized the privilege I have of being someone who is probably assumed straight when passing strangers on the street, I’ve deepened the ownership of my queerness. I never hid it, but it just isn’t one of the top things I’d think to share when describing myself. Mostly, I identify as SONGWRITER. I think of how much it would’ve helped me to see someone I could identify with: someone who looked kinda femme, but internally wasn’t very feminine at all, obsessed over pinball, obsessed over great songs, and who held onto faith but dropped the religion.
I also feel, as we enter into a time in this country’s history where civil rights are being rolled back, it’s more important than ever to acknowledge my queerness publicly. It’s important for me to fully express the complexities of who I am and the multitudes I contain. It’s my belief that we are all complex beings, and that the binary is bullshit.
Lauren Tabak’s “Queer From Here” series for Country Queer will run on Mondays for at least the next two months. For more information about Tabak, go here. For more information about Jaimee Harris, go here.