Loving Mountains, Loving Men | Memoirs of a Gay Appalachian
August 16, 2023
|Title||Loving Mountains, Loving Men | Memoirs of a Gay Appalachian|
|Publisher||Ohio University Press|
|Release Date||August 2023|
A Gay man chronicles his relationship to his native Appalachian culture and society.
Appalachians are known for their love of place, yet many LGBTQ+ people from the mountains flee to urban areas in search of community and broader acceptance. Jeff Mann tells his story as one who left and then returned, who insists on claiming and celebrating both regional and sexual identities.
In memoir and poetry, Mann describes his life as an openly gay man who has remained true to his mountain roots. Mann recounts his upbringing in Hinton, a small town in southern West Virginia, as well as his realization of his homosexuality, his early encounters with homophobia, his coterie of supportive lesbian friends, and his initial attempts to escape his native region in hopes of finding a freer life in urban gay communities. Mann depicts his difficult search for a romantic relationship, the family members who have given him the strength to defy convention, his anger against religious intolerance and the violence of homophobia, and his love for the rich folk culture of the Highland South.
His character and values shaped by the mountains, Mann has reconciled his sexuality with both traditional definitions of Appalachian manhood and his own attachment to home and kin. Loving Mountains, Loving Men is a compelling, universal story of making peace with oneself and the wider world.