By Lauren Tabak & Cindy Emch
Welcome back to Lauren Tabak’s “Queer From Here” series, in which Tabak has photographed some of the faces of Country Queer, continuing today with former CQ Editor, Cindy Emch, a.k.a. Emchy. As the focal point of the band Secret Emchy Society, she’s recently released a fierce new album entitled ‘Gold Country~Country Gold,’ which spawned this excellent video for “Howlin Sober at the Moon.”
Also, 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.
Cindy Emch • She/Her •Oakland, CA.
Sadly, I don’t think I have gay face. At best, I have ally/gay-best-Judy-face and it’s been hard on me and finding community my entire adult life. It’s part of why I’m so out about being a queer country singer, why I flag with a Femme triangle necklace, why I’m so invested in building ‘qmmunity.’
Walking in the world as someone who is assumed straight by all of my gay and queer people feels very isolating and lonely. When I was younger I tried to be super loud all of the time about my queerness: ‘Hothead Paisan’ t-shirts, rainbow flags everywhere, parts of my head shaved, combat boots, whatever I could do. I went for jobs at queer non-profits, I performed mainly at queer spaces, and always put queer front and center.
As I’ve grown up, though, I’ve embraced the type of queer I am – hard tomboy femme queer country musician. Born rural, living urban, and doing the best I can. I’ve learned not to assume anyone else’s queerness or experience, and have learned to bring my whole ex-catholic, witchy-woo, tree-loving-self to every interaction. That has been the biggest gift in terms of finding chosen family, other queers, and strong relationships- both in the Bay Area and in the world at large.
Lauren Tabak’s “Queer From Here” series for Country Queer will run on Mondays for the foreseeable future. For more information about Tabak, go here. For more information about Cindy Emch and Secret Emchy Society, go here.