After our last post, we drove to photograph and interview Audri, a 15 year old in Laurel, MS. Audri decided to be home schooled after facing constant bullying in the public school system; she is now less than a year away from attending college. We really enjoyed meeting Audri as well as her seven newborn puppies — interview and photo to come!
Fun fact: Laurel, MS is a relatively small town in southeast Mississippi, former home of Lance Bass and Parker Posey (one of whom is gay!).
Post puppy time, we got back in the car and headed to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for our first night off, spent at the lovely La Quinta Inn. The following morning, we met with Anna, a freshman at the University of Alabama, to profile her at her sister’s house in town. We also met with the U of A school paper, article coming soon!
We then drove to Montevallo (the South’s most liberal town) to meet with Trevor, president of the University of Montevallo’s Gay-Straight Alliance, a beautiful drag queen and all around nice guy. Trevor informed us that Montevallo is a (super) liberal oasis in a (super) conservative state. We also interviewed Quincy, a member of Lamba Chi, a progressive fraternity on campus that openly welcomes gay students. Quincy and his frat-brother (another gay!) later took us to the town’s Mexican restaurant, El Agave. After enchiladas and guacamole, we proceeded to a Lamba Chi Halloween Party (yes, we’re 25, and yes, we went to a frat party), where everyone was very welcoming.
In the morning, we drove to Birmingham and went to the Civil Rights Institute, a moving museum that documents the civil rights struggle of Black Americans in Birmingham and throughout the South. Unfortunately, we had to cut our visit short to head back to the Atlanta airport.
All in all, it’s been a most amazing trip, complete with overload on all things fried, lack of sleep and too much time in the car. In all seriousness, though, what we’ll take away from this trip are the moving stories that we’ve heard and the brave people who have told them. We look forward to sharing them in the upcoming weeks.