Country Queer

Lifting up LGBTQ+ voices in country and Americana.

The CQ Story: Preparing to Fly

By Dale Henry Geist, Publisher

Photo by Adam Traum

[This is the first in a planned series of notes from, well, me, with the intention of showing you what it’s like behind the scenes at Country Queer, as we get ready for our first crowdfunding campaign.]

I’m nervous, not gonna lie.

Through the darkness of this last year, my work on Country Queer has been a source of light, connecting me with a sense of purpose, and, even more importantly, connecting me with people who share my vision of a beloved musical culture that truly welcomes every one of us. The little glow of an email in my inbox from a stranger who wants to contribute their time and talents. The spark that comes from an artist or publicist reaching out for coverage, because Country Queer is the home they’ve been looking for. The sunburst that comes from a well-known artist who says yes to an interview, because they believe in our mission. The gleam that comes every time I send out some merch that very visibly says “Country Queer” to some remote corner of America, or beyond. The shimmer of a new advertiser, the glitter of every new follower on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram (and now I’ve run out of synonyms for light.)

At a fairly advanced age, I’ve finally found work that’s deeply fulfilling.

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And I’m nervous about losing that.

You see, the reason I’ve been able to put so much work into Country Queer over the last year is that I lost my job at the beginning of the pandemic. That gave me the time. But not the money. Merch and ad sales cover Country Queer’s expenses, but there’s not enough left over to pay my household bills; for those, I’ve relied on unemployment benefits. And I’m just about at the end of that runway.

More: the people who have been contributing their time and talents to CQ without compensation are heroes to me, as well as friends; some are able to continue doing so, but everyone has bills, and the right thing to do is to get them paid sooner rather than later.

As the descendant of German immigrants, raised in Upstate New York, I was taught three things from an early age: don’t toot your own horn; nobody wants to hear about your personal business; and do not, ever, ask for anything. This is really hard for me!

In about five weeks, we’re gonna stand on the edge of the nest, hold hands, and jump. Whether we fly is largely up to you.

I can promise you this: if we do fly (and I think we will!) the sky is the limit. Country Queer’s mission is nothing less than to change the culture, and even as we celebrate the progress we’ve assuredly made, know this: we’ve barely begun.

Next week I’ll talk a bit about what we’ve done so far.

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