A queer Rust Belt reading list

The history of Pride Month has its origins in New York City—where, in 1969, a group of LGBTQ patrons at the Stonewall Inn bar resisted homophobic police violence—but that spirit of rebellion and community exists all across the country. Queer communities are a vital part of the Rust Belt, and the following stories, selected from our archives, explore the dimensions of queer experience in the region we call home. They remind us that queer people exist here like they do anywhere else, and just like anywhere else, we experience violence and joy, trauma and resilience, love and heartbreak. Rust Belt queers are as complex as our region, and we find ways to build home here not in spite of our geography, but because of it. We’re who we are because of the Rust Belt, and the Rust Belt is what it is because of us.

This Pride Month—and every month after—we are a part of and in solidarity with the LGBTQ Rust Belt. We honor not just the elders who fought to make the world a more livable place for queer people, but also the activists, organizers, and cultural workers who carry on that mission today. Wishing everyone a Happy Pride and a Fabulous Struggle.

-Raechel Anne Jolie, Engagement Editor


Support independent, context-driven regional writing.


Our Queer History

“Before It Was Hingetown” 
By Greggor Mattson

“Happy, Sad, Gay, Or Just Interested: The Queer Legacy of WBFO” 
By Claire Tighe 

“Madeline Davis’s Queer Rust Belt History”
By Jeffry J. Iovannone

Community Resistance & Resilience 

“Out of the Closets and Into the Streets” 
By Annie Howard 

“Living LGBT in the Midwest in the Time of Trump”
By Aaron Foley 

“Power and Possibility in Dayton’s Oregon District” 
By Paula D. Ashe

Identity & Desire 

“Something Like Irresponsibility” 
Harmony Cox 

“Switch and the Pride of Youngstown” 
By Jess Hardin

“Lancaster is Burning” 
By Stacy Jane Grover 



Cover image via Flickr (creative commons).

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