Country Queer

Lifting up LGBTQ+ voices in country and Americana.

Lantern Tour Ad

‘Queer Americana’ Pt. 10: Ella

By James Dillon III & Ella

We reached out to Maine-based photographer James Dillon III earlier this year about running their ‘Queer Americana’ series on CQ and we’re proud to finally be able to bring it to you.

Photographed on a road trip across the country, Dillon’s series pushes buttons by setting up curious contrasts and juxtapositions, sometimes subtle and sometimes not. It’s a reflection of how queerness feels in our own personal spaces versus how it feels in the larger world around us—it is simultaneously familiar and foreign.

‘Queer Americana’ is a reminder of how one size doesn’t fit all. And yet, each of us must find ways of being in the world and ways to feel comfortable in our own skin. It is, at times, challenging.

Welcome to #queeramericana


A Honky-Tonk of Our Own

Please read Dillon’s primer for the series, visit their website, or consider becoming a Patreon subscriber.

“I’ve been trying to turn my sexuality into a superpower.

My first sexual experiences happened very early on in my life and it involved males and females. I didn’t find the closure, support or conversation that I needed to understand what had happened to me. There was no acknowledgement or reconciliation, I felt ashamed, isolated and intrigued.

Aside from being a sexual person I am also bisexual and I remember a family member specifically telling me “You know you can’t be gay, right?” As you can imagine, I felt very suppressed by my family for a long time, and still do at times.

One trip to the mall when I was a sad 14yr old, I walked into a Victoria Secret. This adorable red-headed gay boy gave me a ‘smokey eye,’ and something switched in me. I felt pretty and valued by this person and he was the most genuine person I had met in awhile. That’s when I found out Momma, I love the gays.

This experience inspired my interest in make-up and over time our community has taught me not to seek the approval of others, because I’m a bad bitch. That’s what I want to do, make people feel pretty and unashamed. Which qualifies as a superpower, a real superpower.”


James Dillon III is an artist living in Portland, Maine. A self-styled Renaissance Queer, they use photography, writing, and performance art to explore, celebrate, and challenge the world around them.