It’s hard being gay in the American South. Unless you live in Charlotte or Atlanta, walking down the street holding hands with a same-sex partner could get you shot. Then again, people in big cities are not always safe, as illustrated by the devastating Pulse nightclub attack on the liberal southern city of Orlando, Florida in 2016.
Being gay in the South is hard enough. Being gay in working-class pockets of the rural south is a death wish. The vast majority of the working-class South voted for Trump, and the entire blue-collar region isn’t known for its liberalism as much as it’s known for its KKK rallies.
Dazed Digital‘s True Love web series follows stories of unlikely, sometimes unlucky, queer lovers around the country. The series debuts with the story of Sarah and Bri, a “young lesbian couple from Nashville, Tennessee, who are at odds not just with lingering family disapproval, but wider society.”
The series follows Sarah and Bri’s first meeting, discusses their burgeoning sexuality and documents the mixed reactions from their conservative community. Sarah’s family was relatively accepting; she came out to her father via letter at fifteen. Bri’s family was much more upset.
In order to be together, Sarah and Bri contacted each other via secret phones, watched each other through binoculars when physically separated, snuck around behind Bri’s parents’ backs, and stood up to their homophobic community.
When Bri’s family caught Sarah and Bri in the middle of a romantic encounter, they called the police and demanded that Sarah be arrested for statutory rape. Her parents claimed that the age difference between the two girls meant that Sarah raped her. Luckily, Sarah got off safely – barely.
We beat the law by ten days. If would have went to jail if I had been any older the day her mother called the police on me.”
The show’s producer, Elise Tyler, says that the show goes beyond pointing the finger at poor communities and calling them homophobic. The show aims to show that poor American communities are a victim of larger American society.
There is a war on poor people in this country, and it is frightening. It is not something we addressed directly, but I think the air of each episode alludes to the struggles so many Americans currently face.”
Watch the first episode here.