The power and strength of an ironclad support system for LGBTQ+ identified people cannot be overstated. It’s something that I’ve struggled with since coming out. We queers who happen to adore vernacular musics and their offshoot genres find ourselves on the margins of more than one community. Whether consciously or subconsciously, we’re viewed as interlopers or imposters by roots music at large; most other LGBTQ+ folk can’t relate to or understand our love for “hillbilly music” or “redneck music,” especially given the broadly applied negative stereotypes that are projected upon rural communities, Appalachia, the south, and the culture and traditions of the above. It’s often a very lonely, infinitesimal Venn diagram overlap.
Through studying these interviews, various recordings, board tapes, instructional videos and recounting the live performances I may have been fortunate enough to witness, I feel like I can start piecing together their personalities, and see it reflecting through their music. I understand where their licks and intricacies of their style are coming from. It’s almost like I can feel their conviction, and hear their truth, without them saying a word.
One of the joys of Bluegrass Pride comes from the fact that it is joining together two communities that haven’t really been connected before. We are so proud of the work we have done over the past year introducing folks in the LGBT community to bluegrass music and culture. Today, we thought it high time to introduce folks in the bluegrass community to the history of the LGBT community in America.
For far too long have bluegrass communities tolerated bigotry and exclusion, all for the sake of getting in a circle and playing the music we all feel so passionate about… but while we were plunking away at our instruments of choice to the bluegrass standards we love, we were unwittingly excluding entire groups of people who might have gone on to win IBMA awards and write new bluegrass classics for the next generation.