Rural communities don’t usually have the same support networks for queer youth that you might find in big cities or college towns. Mary L. Gray spent two years working in small rural communities in Kentucky, and found that as queer youth are forming their identities here, the experiences they have in the real world often blur with experiences with communities and peer groups online.
Mary calls the blending of town squares, churches, schools, and community centers in real life, and their virtual counterparts Boundary Publics. And the way these boundary publics function as support networks and outlets for expression can make a real difference in the lives of young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and questioning.
Mary L. Gray is from the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University, and is the author of Out in the Country: Youth, Media, and Queer Visibility in Rural America.