By Dale Henry Geist, Publisher
[This is the second 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. Read Part 1: Preparing to Fly.]
In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was, well, two words, actually. The very two you see at the top of this web page. Before that, there was nothing. Nothing more, that is, than an interest in queer people who were making country and Americana music (precious few, as far as I could tell.)
That’s where things stood in February, 2019, when I was looking for the next project in my life. Making websites and digital media for other people had put bread on the table for a long time, so I knew I had the chops to fire up a blog, a podcast, or a YouTube channel. But being basically lazy, I knew it had to be about something I was really interested in, or I’d quit before I started. Out of all the things I was interested in, I was most interested in queer folks making country music. It really intrigued me.
So that was my big idea: some kind of media thing about LGBTQ+ folks making country and Americana.
But as I knew from songwriting, an idea (even a big one) isn’t much more than nothing. To get the juices flowing – to get enough critical mass to get you off your ass – you need a hook. A word or phrase that unlocks the floodgates. What was my hook gonna be? What was I gonna call this thing?
Queer Americana? Nah. Queericana? Ha, no. Queer Country? Meh. Country Queer?
Country Queer. Suddenly the picture came into focus. Suddenly it wasn’t just a thing that I was interested in – it was…you! Suddenly I could see a whole bunch of people, in the country and in small towns, in suburbs and in cities, in the South and the West and the North and the East. Country queers, everywhere. A community! A drag queen in Nashville, a shy gay teen in rural Oklahoma, a lesbian couple in suburban Atlanta, a trans artist in San Francisco…country queers, everywhere.
I did a domain search for countryqueer.com, and, much to my surprise, found it unclaimed. (Friends, such is my native inertia that I swear if it hadn’t been available, that would have been the end of this project.) But there it was. I registered it. And promptly…did nothing.
Have I mentioned that I’m basically lazy?
I tried not doing this. For months all I had was a name and a general idea and I went about my busy life, assuming, I suppose, that it would fade away like a lot of projects I never started. But it didn’t. It kept at me. It kept insisting to be created, and, worst of all, insisting that I had to be the person to do it, since apparently no one else was going to. Finally, two months later, I picked up the phone and called my friend Cindy Emch, the only real-life queer country artist I knew, and ran it by her. She did not laugh at me, which was a good sign. In fact, she encouraged me. So at that point I had to face it: I was gonna do this.
I still did nothing for another month.
Then I fired up a Twitter account.