Country Queer

Lifting up LGBTQ+ voices in country and Americana.

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‘Queer Americana’ Pt. 5: Cole

By James Dillon III & Cole

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 usit 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 started using drugs at 15. I wanted to be cool and I didn’t want anyone to know I was gay (and I assumed using drugs would provide me with a cloak of heterosexuality…LOL). I soon realized that drugs did MUCH more for me. They made me the person that I wanted to be. They made me feel all warm and fuzzy and loved and confident. Over the next 20 years, I was in and out of rehab, fluctuating between very brief periods of “sobriety” and (mostly) long stretches of active addiction. I hated myself. I hated how I looked. I hated how I talked. I hated how I felt. I was always looking for someone or something to fix me. It wasn’t until I was afforded the opportunity of taking a real look at myself and how I interact with the world that I was able to truly begin the recovery process. Today I have 10 months clean and sober…this is by far the longest period of sobriety that I’ve had since I was 15.

​​I definitely struggled with body image issues for my entire life and I’m at a point where I feel good about myself on the inside and I feel like it’s finally reflected on the outside as a direct result of removing drugs and alcohol.

I’ve let go of some self judgments that I’ve had and I feel comfortable celebrating my body. At the same time, I always thought that if I looked a certain way, everyone else would like me, and I’d inevitably like myself. But the internal work I’ve done on myself has been much more challenging than the external stuff.”


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