When I moved to Durham,
N.C., nine years ago, my family
and friends worried I’d be in a place where everyone’s named Bubba and drives a
pickup with a loaded gun rack. And while I was tempted to retort, "No,
that would be Arizona"
(where I was moving from — kidding! I’m kidding!), I was a little concerned,
Yeah, they were the ones who elected Helms over and over
again (and everyone’s really sorry)
but I soon discovered there’s a thriving queer culture here and they don’t even
make you eat grits. Not only that, but as a touring singer-songwriter, it was a
great home base, allowing me to tour the East Coast and Midwest
on a regular basis. With the great job my girlfriend snagged, it was a perfect
place to settle in and call home.
Trianglegrrrls.com is the place to check if you want to
connect with other lesbian and bi women in the area, but to find out more, I
attended four events over a month’s time this summer. Oh, the sacrifices I make
Scene 1: North Carolina Women’s
Edgecombe County Fairgrounds,
Rocky Mount, N.C.
July 26, 2008
If your kind of women’s music festival includes goddess
chants and drumming workshops, stay home. If you want a good party, then grab
your girlfriend and a couple of six packs and c’mon out. That’s how it started,
in 1994, as a party at a private home, but it got so large, they moved it.
Every year it’s a benefit for an organization. This year’s proceeds went to the
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
After getting off the interstate, I felt a clench in the pit
of my stomach. What am I doing in rural by-God North Carolina alone in a truck with a
rainbow sticker? As I pulled into the grassy parking lot, my mind eased a bit
’cause there were several lines of pickups and Subarus sporting various
discreet rainbow items. I was going to be OK.
Katy Perry’s "I Kissed A Girl" was blaring from
the sound system as I checked in with the friendly women at the gate. While I’m
real happy Katy kissed a girl, I don’t care about her boyfriend. (As many times
as I’ve heard it at queer events, I’m wondering if anyone has really listened
to this song. I’d rather have the Jill Sobule song of the same title be our
I sauntered past a raucous volleyball game fueled by beer. A
lot of the festival seemed to be powered by the magic juice, but hey, it’s a
party. (I saw lots of soda too so no worries if alcohol isn’t a part of your
At one end of the field was a small stage, and clustered
around it, canopies covering lawn chairs, ice chests and about 150 smiling
women. My nervousness about being there alone quickly evaporated within the
first few seconds as women approached me with hugs and beer. Granted, some of
them knew me in my other life as a musician but many were just showing a little
A small food trailer at the other end of the field offered
basic fare like burgers, fries and kick-ass homemade lemonade.